TRIBUTES have been paid to chairman of Newark & Sherwood District Council Keith Sheppard who has died.
Coun Sheppard (79), who was originally from Edwinstowe and was district council member for Lowdham, died peacefully at home on Friday.
Council leader Tony Roberts said: “It was with great sadness that I learned of Keith’s passing. Although he had been ill for much of his year in office, he was so stoical and positive. I thought he would win this fight.
“Keith was a dedicated and hard-working councillor. He delighted in his role as chairman of the Planning Committee, in spite of the controversy that often accompanied some decisions.
“As with his illness he took it all in his stride, rarely losing his temper, but occasionally showing his irritation with some very blunt speaking.
“I will remember Keith for his unswerving loyalty, his dedication as a councillor, his dry sense of humour but above all his warmth as a human being. He deserved his accolade as chairman of the council. It is such a huge pity that he was taken from us during his year of office.
Coun Roberts said his thoughts and prayers were with Coun Sheppard’s wife of 53 years, Sheila.
After completing his education, Coun Sheppard joined the Royal Air Force, serving for two years as a fitter on airframes. On leaving, he joined Davy United in Sheffield, working for 18 years as a draughtsman for the company which manufactured rolling mills for the steel industry.
He opted for a change of career in 1971 when he bought Knight’s Roses, a rose-growing company in Lowdham, which he ran for 36 years until his retirement in 1997.
Cricket was his big passion in life, and he played regularly until he was 68 for Edwinstowe, Lowdham and Thurgarton cricket clubs.
Coun Sheppard was head groundsman at Thurgarton and served on the committee of the South Notts Village League for 27 years.
He had been a member of the district council for 21 years, serving on the Planning Committee until his election as chairman. Vice-chairman, Coun Marika Tribe, will assume the role of chairman for the remainder of the civic term.