TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular conservative councillor who served the Aston Cantlow ward for almost 33 years.

Sir William Lawrence, the longest serving member of Stratford-on-Avon District Council, died on Tuesday, February 10 at the age of 60.

He was the only person to be chairman of the council twice, once in 1990 and again in 2010.

Despite catching polio at the age of three, confining him to a wheelchair, he was extremely active throughout his adult life taking on many roles including president of the Stratford-upon-Avon Chamber Music Society, district council chairman of the environmental health committee, planning (west) and more recently a member of the cabinet as environmental services portfolio holder.

Sir William received an OBE in 2003 for his services to the tourism industry and became the fifth baronet when his father- also Sir William Lawrence died in 1986.

He lived in south Warwickshire all his life and was studied at King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford-upon-Avon.

In February 2005 he married Tamara Bubashvili from Tbilisi, Georgia.

His friend, the current Marquess of Hertford, Lieutenant Colonel Lord Henry Seymour, recalled memories of Sir William telling him how he had attended the lord's first birthday party when he was around six-years-old.

He said: “He is greatly missed. My wife and I would like to offer our deepest condolences to his widow, Tamara.

“William was godfather to my eldest son.”

He added that William was one of the Ragley Estate trustees but had given it up as he was required to leave the council chamber whenever a Ragley matter was being discussed, which was quite often.

His neighbour, county councillor Mike Gittus, who is also an Alcester town councillor, said he was a great guy who was very well-known around the town.

He said: “The thing about William was that although he was disabled he never, ever let it stand in his way of the things he wanted to do.

“He travelled the world representing Stratford and received an OBE for the work that he did there.

“A great guy, he fell in love with his wife and then got married. They had a wonderful relationship.

“They were an inseparable couple, they did everything together.

“Tamara was there for him always.

"He died in the arms of his wife."

Cllr Gittus added that he and his wife had attended Tamara’s British citizenship ceremony which he said he believes was a very proud moment for Sir William.