TRIBUTES have been paid to a former mayor of Basingstoke, who passed away last week at the age of 85.

Lynden Jones was elected to the borough council in 1986 and served as a councillor for the ward of Brookvale, as well as on many committees, for 13 years. These included Traffic and Construction, and as chairman for both Planning and Transportation and Environmental Services.

He then represented the town as mayor between 1999 and 2000.

His passing on Tuesday, February 23, comes just five months after losing his wife, Pamela, in September.

Lynden and Pamela were both born in Barry, South Glamorgan in Wales. They were teenage sweethearts, and in April last year celebrated 60 years of marriage. The couple had three children, Christopher, Nicola and Kathryn, and four grandchildren.

At a meeting of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council on Thursday (February 25), members joined in a minute's silence in memory of Lynden.

Mayor Cllr Diane Taylor said: "I remember Lynden as a popular and hard-working Mayor back at the turn of the century.

“More recently it has been a pleasure to get to know him and Pamela again at several functions and to send greetings to them on their diamond wedding anniversary, which they were able to celebrate just a few months before Pamela’s passing last year.

“It is so very sad now to lose Lynden. He was a man of character and honour and has served his community faithfully over many years.

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

A selection of heartfelt tributes were then offered by other members of the council, led by Cll Ron Hussey who was an especially close friend of Lynden’s.

Cllr Hussey said: “Tuesday was a sad day. Lynden was my friend, and I’ll miss him.

“When we canvassed together, people were really pleased to see him. He wasn’t their councillor, he was Lynden.

“Lynden reached out to people, and they welcomed him. He became a key part of the community.

“He was a first-class councillor.”

Cllr Gavin James (Lib Dem, Eastrop) also added his tribute to a "very empathetic" man who taught him much about being a representative on the council.

He said: "I will miss him, but I will spend my time being so proud of being able to work with him and to have him be such an influence on my life and my career."

Cllr Andy McCormick (Labour, Brighton Hill) added that, although Lynden stood down the year he was elected, he was his grandfather's ward councillor in Brookvale.

"It was very self-evident that Lynden put the borough first. I am sad to hear of his passing, but we can look back on a very rich civic life," he said.

Paying the family’s tribute, Lynden’s daughter Nicola said: “We were lucky to have such wonderful parents and very proud of what our father achieved throughout his life.

“He loved being borough Mayor and in particular, meeting and getting to know more people in Basingstoke. He was always genuinely interested in the local community and what everybody was doing.

“He will be sadly missed as a loving father and grandfather.”

Lynden studied at the University of Wales, Cardiff, from 1954 to 1957 and graduated with a history degree. He went on to study at Manchester University to gain a Certificate in Deaf Education.

Lynden and Pamela moved from Wales to Bristol, Burton-on-Trent, Hounslow and Edinburgh before settling in Basingstoke, where Lynden became headteacher of St Thomas' School for the Deaf in Darlington Road until it closed in 1985.

He was a past chairman of Central and Northeast Hampshire Deaf Children’s Society; a past president of North Hampshire Association of Head Teachers and was an active member of Trinity Methodist Church in Sarum Hill as a lay preacher.

Lynden was a lifelong scout as a member of Barry Sea Scouts. He was also a past scoutmaster and chairman of scout group committees and vice-chairman of Relate in Basingstoke.