COUNCILLOR Robert Wood, who was elected to Ryedale District Council less than two months ago for the Sheriff Hutton Ward, died suddenly yesterday in hospital.

Coun Wood had been diagnosed with a brain tumour three months ago but overcame it though had to run his election campaign from his bed helped by his wife Hazel and son, Simon.

A lifelong resident of Sheriff Hutton, Coun Wood, 60, ran the village garage and restored classic cars. Simon said: "He was making very good progress after his tumour operation. His biggest concern when I spoke to him on Monday night was that he would be unable to attend a council meeting on Tuesday. Being elected to the council was the best thing that happened to him."

Coun Wood, a Conservative, defeated the sitting Independent councillor Gill Stilwell by 19 votes. At the time of his election he said the campaign had helped him on the road to recovery.

He lived in the same house he was born in, and had been a member of Sheriff Hutton parish council for 27 years and was also chairman of the local school governors.

Just after his election, Tory Party leader David Cameron sent him a letter congratulating him on his success. "This is a tremendous personal achievement and a magnificent result," he said.

Ryedale MP John Greenway, in a tribute to Coun Wood said: "His death is a real tragedy for people living in the Sheriff Hutton Ward and for Ryedale District Council. Robert was one of the nicest people you could ever meet and would have been a real asset to the council."

Details of Councillor Wood's funeral were still being finalised at the time of going to press.