Tributes have been paid to former West Norfolk Council leader Ian Stockwell, who died on January 5 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, aged 85.

Honorary Alderman Mr Stockwell, of Dersingham, was Conservative leader of the council for 10 years.

He served on the authority for a total of 22 years, first being elected in 1973 and stepping down in 1995.

He was also involved with a number of disability charities and community groups, and was a former teacher at King Edward VII school in Lynn.

Stuart Dark, current West Norfolk Council leader, paid tribute to Mr Stockwell’s legacy.

He said: “We were saddened to learn that Honorary Alderman Ian Stockwell had passed away. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

“While neither the chief executive nor I had the opportunity to work with Ian Stockwell, he was, by all accounts, an excellent leader and the driving force behind many local initiatives.

“Having spoken to some of the staff and members who did work with him, it is clear that he was well regarded, well respected and described as a ‘true gent’.

“I am sure he will be remembered with much fondness and appreciation for his contribution to the community, not only during his teaching career, but also during his time as a councillor and an alderman.”

During his time as leader of the borough council, Mr Stockwell oversaw the electrification of the railway line to Cambridge, the development of Lynnsport and the refurbishment of the Corn Exchange.

He also served as chairman of the management committee of Dersingham Community Centre.

His charity work included serving as the local Mencap secretary, plus chairing All Aboard and the Forward Day Care Centre, two charities focused on improving access to transport for those with disabilities.

He was also a member of the management board of Park House, formerly a hotel for the less able.

Mr Stockwell’s funeral service will be held at St Nicholas’ Church in Dersingham on Thursday, February 3, at 11.15am, followed by cremation at Mintlyn Crematorium.

The family has requested black attire be worn and family flowers only. Donations, if desired, can be made for West Norfolk Mencap and Baby Basics (West Norfolk).