TRIBUTE has been paid to Bingley Rural councillor Mike Ellis who died this morning after a brave battle against cancer.

Cllr Ellis, from Oxenhope, was the chief whip for the Conservative group on Bradford Council.

The group leader, Worth Valley councillor Rebecca Poulsen, said: “Councillor Mike Ellis was a widely known and well-liked man, held in high regard by those who knew him.

"His ability to turn his hand to anything and quickly develop expertise in complex issues meant that he met and helped many people, which he devoted a massive amount of his time to and clearly enjoyed.

"It was natural that Mike would end-up serving the people of Bradford district as a councillor, where he could use his vast knowledge base to help as many people as possible – and he served on so many council committees and outside bodies that to list them takes several pages.

"He will be a huge loss to the Conservative group and the council. He has always been a support to all across the council and could always resolve an issue. As a group we are all devastated by his loss.

"However, despite Mike’s passion for helping others, his main priority was always his family – whom he always spoke of with affection and pride. There was nothing he enjoyed more than a big family holiday, with his wife, children and grandchildren all there and the thoughts of my Conservative group colleagues and I are with them at this sad time."

Cllr Ellis, who was born in 1943, was first elected to Bradford Council 30 years ago and served in the Worth Valley ward until 1995.

He was then re-elected as a councillor for Bingley Rural in 2006, until the present.

Tribute is also paid by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Keighley councillor Doreen Lee.

She said: “Mike was a true gentleman. His humour and common sense approach both to life and politics will be truly missed in the political world.

“Bingley Rural and the Conservative party have lost a good man. l am very proud to say he was my political adversary and my friend. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and family.”

Bradford Council chief executive Kersten England said: “Mike Ellis was a very decent man, liked and respected by officers and politicians of all parties.

“He was always energetic, pragmatic and positive and took the responsibilities of his role as an elected member and chief whip very seriously. I will miss him hugely.”

Council leader, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “I’m really sorry to hear of the passing of Cllr Mike Ellis. He was well liked and respected by councillors of all parties and cared about making a difference to the whole of Bradford district and indeed to West Yorkshire.

“We are all going to miss him. His family can be very proud of the significant contribution he made.”