TRIBUTES have been paid to a former county and district councillor.

Former Essex County Council chairman Rodney Bass died yesterday.

Mr Bass had spent 50 years as an elected representative before retiring in 2017.

He held many roles including chairman of Maldon District Council and cabinet member for highways and transportation at Essex County Council.

Home Secretary and Witham MP Priti Patel described Mr Bass as a “local legend”.

She said: “My thoughts and prayers are with Rodney’s wife, Margaret, and his entire family at this time.

“Rodney was a local legend who combined a successful career in finance with half a century of committed and devoted service to local government.

“Communities across this part of Essex have benefited enormously from the tireless work and campaigning he undertook on their behalf.

“I worked closely with Rodney over many years on local issues and matters affecting the whole county and he always put the interests of our residents first.

Mr Bass also served as chairman of the Essex Pension Fund.

He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his service to local government.

“His determination to get things done and make a difference was inspirational and his work on improving the local highways network, developing plans for the county’s strategic roads and his support for local good causes will be remembered for many years to come,” added Ms Patel.

“It has been a great privilege to know Rodney and I will always be grateful for the support and advice he has given me.

“He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”