Tributes were paid to a ‘popular and hard working’ Blaenavon figure, who has died.

Blaenavon councillor, former Torfaen councillor and ex-chairman of Blaenavon RFC, Neil Lewis MBE died yesterday evening.

Mr Lewis died at his home in New James Street surrounded by his family after a long illness.

In a tribute a spokesman for Blaenavon RFC said: “Neil was a very popular and hard working, chairman of Blaenavon RFC, life member and officer for the club as well as a Monmouthshire Union selector and a lifelong Welsh rugby fan. He did much to raise the profile of Blaenavon RFC during his long service to this club on and off the field.”

He was elected to Blaenavon Town Council and then on to Torfaen County Borough Council in 1995 and was executive member for regeneration.

Awarded an MBE in 2010, he remained a serving member of Blaenavon town council, and was a former chairman of Blaenavon Town Council and played a active and leading role in the development of World Heritage status for Blaenavon. He also served as chairman of the Local Authority World Heritage Forum (LAWHF).

Blaenavon RFC added: “Our sympathy goes out to his wife Margaret and daughters Sarah and Jane at this sad time.”

Details of the funeral arrangements will be published soon.