A book of condolence will be opened at Crawley town hall following the death of Bert Crane, who served on the council for more than half a century.
Bert, 87, died yesterday evening (Tuesday February 10) at East Surrey Hospital.
Known as the Father of Crawley, he served on the Urban District Council and then the Borough Council for 58 years, and was made an Honorary Alderman in 2012, having already been made an Honorary Freeman of the town.
With tributes flooding in from friends and colleagues, a council spokesman said a book of condolence would be opened at the town hall “within the next few days”.
Crawley Mayor Cllr Brenda Smith was among those who paid tribute to Bert, calling his death “the end of an era”.
She said: “He’s one of the pioneers and the founders of the town. It’s the end of an era for us as his friends and colleagues and also for the town.”
Cllr Smith was moved by the touching comments sent by colleagues from both sides of the political divide.
While Bert was staunchly Labour, members of Crawley’s Conservatives put aside politics to pay their respects to a man who dedicated the majority of his life to the town.
Cllr Smith said: “I’ve had some fantastic tributes. It’s at times like this that I’m so proud that I’m part of Crawley.”
She added: “He’s been very poorly for some weeks now and, for those of us closest to him and his family, we’ve had the opportunity to see him again and say goodbye.”