A minute silence was held in tribute to a “valued” and “caring” Downley parish councillor who sadly passed away last month.

Barry Gay was chairman of Downley Parish Council for eight years and then vice chairman up until his death on August 26, aged 75.

His councillor colleagues paid tribute to Mr Gay, who was described as “Downley through and through” with a minute’s silence at the beginning of Tuesday’s monthly council meeting.

In an emotional tribute, Carole Burslem, current chair of the council, said Mr Gay will be “very much missed” by all.

She said: “We have lost a very, very, valued member of the community, not just the council. It was always said that if you cut Barry in half, like a stick of rock, you would see Downley all the way through him.

“No matter what age you were, Barry cared. And he cared so much about the community. He is going to be very missed by everyone and I certainly am going to miss him very much.”

Mr Gay lived in the village all his life and following retirement from his successful engineering distribution business, he was elected as parish councillor and served on a number of committees including the planning applications group and the community assets committee.

He was also a trained leader for the Simply Walk programme and often encouraged others to enjoy walks on the Common and surrounding woodland.

Despite illness in his later years, he was still dedicated to his role on the council.

Mrs Burslem added: “For a while, he knew he was not well but there was no way I was going to let him pass away without being on this council. He was chairman for eight years and then vice chairman and he still did all he could even though he was ill.

“There is no way I will ever be able to match how good he was but I'm touched to be able to follow in his footsteps. It is a very sad time and our thoughts are with his family.”

Mr Gay’s funeral is set to be held on September 19 at 11.30am at Chilterns Crematorium. Family flowers only, but donations can be made to the British Lung Foundation in his memory.

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