COMMUNITY figures have paid tribute to a popular villager who died after collapsing at a Lickey and Blackwell Parish Council meeting on Monday night.

Pensioner Barry Kelkin, of Old Birmingham Road, collapsed at Lickey Parish Hall, during public question time, minutes after speaking out against a scheme to shut down High Lea Nursing Home.

Cllr Norma Rogers, who had known Mr Kelkin for many years, said: "He was a kind and caring man and where he felt he could help people, that is what he did.

"It is like a light has gone out on the Lickeys."

Cllr Coral Beavis and Mr Kelkin's fellow Lickey Community Association member, Avril Adams, both trained nurses, attempted to resuscitate him while they waited for the paramedics.

The former Austin worker, who was believed to be in his 70s, was taken to Redditch's Alexandra Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Parish council chairman Ron Brown said: "Barry brought his cause to the parish council to make representations, not only on his own behalf but that of his neighbours and friends, because he believed an injustice had been created.

"He will be greatly missed."

He also paid tribute to the efforts of Cllr Beavis and Mrs Adams.

The meeting was closed and will be reconvened at 7.30pm on Monday November 13 at Lickey Parish Hall, Old Birmingham Road. Members are due to hold a minute's silence in his memory.