TRIBUTES are being paid to a former leader of Worcestershire County Council who has died.

Councillor Bob Bullock, a Conservative representing the Croome division, died today at the age of 86.

He was first elected to the old Hereford and Worcester County Council in 1973 and during his time in politics went on to become leader at County Hall during the 1980s.

During his 40 years in politics he was also head of the authority’s planning committee, and the chairman in 2002 during his last senior role at County Hall.

He was also a former city councillor and became Mayor of Worcester in 1978-79.

Councillor John Campion, the current cabinet member for adult social care and localism, said: “Bob was a real stalwart for the council and will be missed.

“He was always true to his own beliefs and was not afraid to speak up for a cause he believed in, even if it was against the popular line or the party’s view, as long as it was right for his community.”

Councillor Fran Oborski, a Liberal county council politician, said: “It is very sad, Bob had given years to the council and was one of the those who was there at the very beginning.

“He was looking very frail recently.”

Councillor David Harrison, a district councillor for Kempsey, who knew Bob for many years, said: "He was an absolutely fantastic guy - this is a real sad loss for the community.

"When something needed doing, he would sort it out - he was that sort of guy."

Bob became a widow in 2005 when wife Hazel, who acted as his consort when he was Worcester’s Mayor, passed away.

He used to live in Kempsey but moved to Whittington, near Worcester several years ago and was last based at Monarch Drive, near Henwick Park.

His death will not trigger a by-election at County Hall, meaning the Croome seat will remain vacant until the local elections in May.