TRIBUTES have been paid to a long-serving former councillor and former Basingstoke and Deane Mayor who was the “loved to serve his community”.

George Hood, who first became a borough councillor in 1984, died on November 5 at the age of 83.

Representing the Norden ward, Mr Hood was first elected to the borough council in 1984.

He took a five-year break in service and was re-elected in 1992, holding various senior positions, including Deputy Leader in 2004/5, until he retired in August 2018 aged 82.

The former mayor was described as being kind, generous and gentle was a well-respected member of the borough council across the chamber.

Leader of the Basingstoke Labour group and serving the Norden ward with Mr Hood for 16 years, Councillor Paul Harvey said he was “a real mentor” to him.

Cllr Harvey said: “He lived his life for his community. He was very bit a part of the community that he lived in.

“Living in Oakridge, he just loved that sense of community and that sums him up.

“He had a heart for public service.”

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Cllr Harvey said that Mr Hood loved his mayoral year and that the former councillor thought it was an important role to hold.

Born and raised in Peterhead, Scotland, George moved to Basingstoke in 1962 when he was offered a job as an inspector at Thornycroft.

He married his wife Davina the following year and the couple settled in Oakridge, bringing up their sons Christopher and Stephen.

They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2013 with their family, including six grandchildren.

Mr Hood worked at Thornycroft for 30 years in various positions. He was also chairman of Governors at John Hunt of Everest School and held the same position at Merton Infant and Junior Schools.

In a statement from Mr Hood’s family they said: “We are all so sad at the passing of George. We were all extremely proud of his hard work and achievements in his community and he will be sadly missed as a loving husband, father, grandfather and brother.”

The flag at the civic offices in London Road will be lowered to half-mast in honour of Mr Hood on the day of his funeral, on December 2.

The funeral cortege will leave from the Civic Offices and through Oakridge before making its way to Basingstoke Crematorium.

Current mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Cllr Diane Taylor added: “He was a real gentleman and very popular with local people. I served with George on the Development Control Committee and found him a lovely man. We enjoyed many interesting chats and he was very knowledgeable about the history of Basingstoke.

“Our thoughts are with George’s family at this sad time”