TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Blaenau Gwent council leader, and “true gentleman” who has died.

Brynmawr councillor John Hopkins, who died after suffering with illness for the last two years, was described as someone who “would help anyone” and as someone who will be sorely missed.

Mr Hopkins led the minority group in the council up until October 2014 when he took a back seat due to his health and was replaced by Nigel Daniels.

Steve Thomas, leader of the council, said: “This is extremely sad news, my thoughts go out to John’s family and friends.

“Above all else John was known as a gentleman in the way that he dealt with all around him, whether they be those who worked with him or perhaps even more importantly, those he worked for.

“Although events sometimes found us on different sides of a political debate, John and I maintained a cordial and friendly relationship, I know that he will be very sadly missed by all of his former colleagues.”

Nick Smith MP said: “Saddened to hear about the death of Councillor John Hopkins.

“I found him to be a straightforward councillor who I was always able to work with on issues in Brynmawr. My condolences go out to John's family at this difficult time.”

On Facebook, Phil Edwards, leader of the Ebbw Vale business forum, also called him a “true gentleman”. He added: “I will always be grateful for the way he worked with the business forum and Ebbw Vale Town Centre.”