TRIBUTES have been paid to a ’dedicated’ and ’hardworking’ West Devon Borough Councillor who sadly died this week.
West Devon Borough Council confirmed that its lead councillor for the environment, Cllr Mike Benson, passed away at his home in Bere Alston on Monday.
Cllr Benson served on the borough council’s community services committee from 2011 and then the hub committee from May 2015.
He was also vice chair of the planning and licensing committee between May 2013 and May 2016 and represented the council on the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and sat on the Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum and the World Mining Heritage project.
Cllr Benson became a member of Bere Ferrers Parish Council in 2007 and was involved with Beregen in raising £500,000 to enable the rebuilding of the parish hall in Bere Alston. He was also involved with the Bere Peninsula Post Office Group, which helped to retain the post office in Bere Alston. Most recently he was involved with the creation with the Bere Peninsula Plan.
Mike Benson moved to Bere Alston in 1975 and was a professional photographer working for publications such as the Western Morning News, The Tavistock Times the Times Educational Supplement and Sailing Today.
A keen sailor, he was also a member of Weir Quay Sailing Club since becoming commodore of the club, which has always supported local sailors. He loved the peninsula, enjoying its unique nature and felt privileged to represent the ward on West Devon Borough Council.
Leader of West Devon Borough Council Cllr Philip Sanders said: ‘Cllr Mike Benson was a dedicated and hardworking ward member for the Bere Ferrers ward. His energy and enthusiasm will be sorely missed.
’Mike was interested in every aspect of council business and was always willing to spend time following things up and making sure that all of the council services were being delivered to the highest possible quality. The electorate was always his first priority.’
Former West Devon Borough Councillor Ted Sherrell, who served on the council with Cllr Benson for several years, said: ’Mike was a stalwart, dedicated councillor who represented the people of West Devon in general and those in the Bere Peninsula in particular, with honesty and principle.
’A tireless worker for the community, his sad death leaves a void in local public life which will be so very, very difficult to fill.’