TRIBUTES are being paid to Torfaen councillor Tom Gould who died on Friday.

Cllr Gould, who represented the Snatchwood ward, died aged 85 after being unwell for some time.

The councillor from Pontnewynydd was elected in 2008 when he was a member of the now disbanded People's Voice.

A keen poet, Cllr Gould wrote about his many interests including bird-keeping, wildlife, nature and current affairs.

He began writing poetry following the tragic death of his only grandchild Dafydd Birt and published a collection of his poems last Christmas.

Cllr Gould was born in Pontypool in 1925 and began working life at the age of 14 in Central Forge Tinplate works in Pontypool.

He joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer and served on board HMS Maidstone - the first British ship to enter Hong Kong harbour at the end of World War Two to pick up surviving prisoners of war.

The councillor then returned to work at the Tinplate works after the war and later at Pontnewynydd Steelworks until its closure in 1962.

He also worked for a time as a labourer and later as a refuse collector for the council.

He was a widower with two children.

Cllr Doug Jones met the late councillor on the campaign trail in 2008 and said he also raised vital funds for the Poppy Appeal.

Cllr Jones said: "He was an utter gentleman and will be sadly missed."

Leader of Torfaen council, Cllr Bob Wellington, said: "Tom was a great character and nice old fella, who was respected by all members of the council and will be greatly missed by us all."

St Dials councillor Liz Haynes said: "I have nothing but respect for the hard work and dedication that councillor Gould gave to his constituents and position. He will be sadly missed."