TRIBUTES are being paid to veteran Newport councillor Les Knight who died yesterday – having served the city’s Allt-yr-yn ward for more than 40 years.

Cllr Knight died on yesterday morning at the age of 81, leaving his wife of 54 years Betty, two daughters and two granddaughters and two son-in-laws.

Councillor Knight was first elected to Newport City Council in 1964.

The Tory councillor lost his seat in 1994, but was reelected in 1999 and spent a total of 42 years on the council, making him the longest serving Newport councillor.

Cllr Knight’s daughter Helen Jones, 49, said yesterday he was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather who had been a dedicated councillor, churchgoer and gardener.

She said the former ship broker and accountant had a real passion for Tredegar House, served as chairman of its Friends and campaigned successfully to bring a Gainsborough portrait of Sir Charles Morgan back to Newport.

Mrs Jones said her father would be “greatly missed” by all his family and that he was now with his grandchildren Ronan and Jess, who died as babies in 2001 and 2002.

Leader of Newport council Matthew Evans said Cllr Knight was “part of the furniture” at the civic centre.

Cllr Evans said: “He gave outstanding service over many decades to both the Conservative party and the Allt-yr-yn ward he represented, and will be sorely missed by many people.”

Fellow Allt-yr-yn ward member, Cllr David Fouweather, said: “I have been privileged to be Les’ colleague representing Allt-yr-yn ward since 2004.

He was a very well respected and well-known member of the council community and he will be greatly missed.”

Cllr Val Dudley knew Cllr Knight for more than 20 years and said he had been a “mentor, friend and brother” to her. She said: “Les was an honourable gentleman.

He did his best to help everybody that he possibly could – nothing was too much trouble for him.

“He’s a great loss. Newport will miss him.”

Cllr Knight held many council roles throughout his political career, including mayor, deputy mayor, and chairman of the planning committee.

At the time of his death he was still a member of Allt-yr-yn Neighbourhood Committee and the overview and scrutiny forum for resources and audit.

He was also on the governing bodies of Clytha Primary School and Duffryn High School.