TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-respected city councillor who died suddenly aged 60.

Councillor Stuart Denlegh-Maxwell, who was re-elected last year having represented Claines in the late 80s and early 90s, died suddenly on Monday (June 10).

Worcester City Council colleagues paid tribute to Cllr Denlegh-Maxwell who was well-liked and respected by members across the political divide.

Marc Bayliss, leader of the city council, said: “It is absolutely terrible news to lose Stuart. He was a valued and respected member of the council and was well-liked by colleagues right across the council not just on the Conservative side.

“Obviously he had served the city some years ago and had come back and he was making a real difference to the way we worked.

“It is a terrible shame that his life has been cut short. I will miss him greatly. He was a great colleague.”

Cllr Denlegh-Maxwell served two terms representing Claines on Worcester City Council. He was elected in 1988 and held the seat until 1994, when he stood down because of work and family commitments. He was re-elected in 2018.

Cllr Denlegh-Maxwell’s family have local connections stretching back many years.

Both his father and grandfather were parish priests in the city, while his mother was a magistrate in the city for 25 years.

His great-great-grandfather was John Corbett, who was known as The Salt King and was MP for Droitwich in the 1870s.

A portrait of another ancestor, Sir John Pakington, is displayed in the Guildhall in Worcester.

Cllr James Stanley, who represented Claines alongside Cllr Denlegh-Maxwell, said: “For me he was a man who was first and foremost a friend as well as a colleague.

“Stuart was someone who, in a world where politics has become quite polarised, due to his many qualities, his sense of humour, his wisdom and his gentleness, could work across the political boundaries.

“As you could see from many of the colleagues from different parties who were very quick to pay tribute to Stuart was a true testament to the man. I think his memory in Worcester will live on for many a year.”

Cllr Andy Stafford, who also worked alongside Cllr Denlegh-Maxwell representing Claines, said: “I am shocked and deeply upset by Stuart’s sudden passing and I will miss him very much.

“We worked closely together on his election campaign and as ward colleagues, he was always positive, kind and compassionate.

“Stuart had so much more to give to Worcester, he was passionate about tackling homelessness and was hoping to serve as a future mayor.

“Stuart was a successful businessman and had a loving family. He will be missed by his many friends across the city, my heart goes out to Cecilia and his family."

Cllr Denlegh-Maxwell was due to attend a meeting of the council’s licensing and environmental health committee on Monday (June 10). The meeting was postponed following the news of his death.

Cllr Allah Ditta, mayor of Worcester, paid tribute to a dear friend who had taken great pleasure in nominating him for the role less than a month ago.

He said: “Stuart was a very dear friend of mine.

“When I head the news I was just stunned and shocked, I’d only just seen him on Saturday.

“It is really, really sad. I must send all my condolences to his family.”

Cllr Louise Griffiths said: "He was a wonderful man, a great friend and fantastic source of support for me as a new councillor, both before and after I joined the Conservative group.

"I’ll miss him and his words of wisdom, along with his brilliant sense of humour, and I think his loss will be felt very deeply by everyone who knew him."