Tributes to a man who did “exemplary and tireless” work for Otley for many years have been flooding in.

Les Cross, who was an Otley Town Council clerk for 11 years and had also worked for Otley Town Partnership, died last week following a long illness. He was 66.

Previously a resident of Ben Rhydding and Burley-in-Wharfedale, Mr Cross moved to live in Stoneclough, near Manchester, several years ago to be near one of his sons.

Town council leader Councillor Jim Spencer said: “I was shocked to hear of Les’s death. We had worked together as town council leader and clerk for years. It seems only yesterday he retired as clerk to the council and moved on to work for the partnership.

“His support of the town spread beyond his work for the council and the partnership. He worked with many community organisations over the years and our extensive list of community groups owes much to his efforts.

“Les had decades of experience in local government administration that led him to be calm in crisis. It was always a great comfort to know he was behind me when conducting council affairs, and his cool advice rescued the council from awkward situations on many occasions. Most people in the town will probably be unaware of how much they owe to Les but there will be many who are aware of his tireless work.

“I am certainly grateful for his time as town clerk and his personal support for the Rail Link Action Group. It was a privilege to have worked with him.”

Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: “Those of us who worked with and knew Les Cross were sad to hear of his death.

“He was a vigorous and active town clerk always willing to listen, always willing to help.

“Many local organisations have reason to thank Les, particularly for his skills. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him.”

Councillor Graham Kirkland (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: “He performed duties as town clerk in an exemplary fashion and will be sadly missed.”

Otley’s MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) said: “He cared deeply for the town and wanted to do what he could to improve the area. He was a truly lovely man, one of life’s gentlemen, and he will be sorely missed.”

He leaves his wife, Jennie, and sons Jonathan and Alex.