TRIBUTES have been paid to Telegraph & Argus columnist and former Bradford councillor, Keith Thomson, who died this week.

Mr Thomson wrote the T&A’s weekly Envirowatch column since 2007, covering a variety of green issues. A former Labour councillor for Wibsey, he was a teacher for many years, and headteacher of Grange school from 1974 to 1989.

He was also treasurer of Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank, which he helped to set up 15 years ago. Founder Lashman Singh said: “Keith was part of it from the beginning. Before that I knew him as a councillor in Buttershaw and, when we were getting donations of food and storing it at Carlisle Business Centre, he took a van, loaded it with food and distributed it all to those in need. Helping people was his passion.

“Keith’s death is a huge loss. He did so much for the Food Bank; he did all the fundraising, and he was very meticulous with the accounts, making sure everyone who made a donation had a receipt. I don’t think we will ever be able to fill his shoes. He is very much missed by all the volunteers here.”

Mr Thomson, who had four children and several grandchildren with his wife Brenda, lived in the Daisy Hill area of Bradford.

He died in his sleep on Monday, following an illness. His funeral, expected to take place next week, will be for family members, and a celebration of his life is planned, for friends and colleagues, in June.

Several Bradford councillors have tweeted tributes to Keith, describing him as “caring, decent and principled” and as a “gentle caring man” who “changed people’s lives as a councillor, a teacher and through voluntary work”.

T&A columnist, and former environment reporter, Helen Mead said: “In the 1990s, during a period as environment reporter with the T&A, I found Keith to be a reliable, constant source of information on just about everything, from flooding to fossil fuels, litter and wind farms, and, most importantly, how to live more sustainably.

“He was so knowledgeable and could talk at length about issues close to his heart. I remember talking to him about the scourge of decking in suburban gardens and its impact upon wildlife and, on another occasion, the removal of front gardens to make way for car parking spaces.

“It was clear he had a great passion for green issues. Keith was a man who really did make a contribution to saving the planet.”

Last summer the T&A ran a campaign supporting the Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank, which was handing out more food parcels than ever before. Mr Thomson paid tribute to the local schools, shops, churches, mosques, gurdwaras and businesses that donated food. He told the T&A: “We’ve always had wonderful support in Bradford, from all cultures."