SENIOR leaders of North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) have paid tribute to Cllr John Blackie who died at the weekend.

Cllr Blackie, who led the Independent group on the county council and has been a member since 1997, was a representative for the Upper Dales communities.

Cllr Carl Les, NYCC leader said: “Our thoughts must go firstly to his family and close friends. He and I joined the council at the same time so shared many of the same experiences and circumstances. He was tireless in his advocacy of the place where he lived. Not Dales born and bred, although sometimes it was hard to think he wasn’t, he had come from the Home Counties and fell in love with the Upper Dales and especially its communities and people.

“His energy was all the more remarkable because of the serious medical issues he faced. But he didn’t just shout out about the local challenges, he met them head on with innovative solutions usually involving the county council.”

Richard Flinton, NYCC’s chief executive, said: “The loss of John is an enormous blow for North Yorkshire and particularly its rural areas. He was one of the greatest community champions I have ever worked with; tireless on issues, protector of rural life and a community entrepreneur without match.”