Tributes have been paid to former leading county councillor Ian Morris who has sadly died aged 54 after a short illness.
Northamptonshire Conservative Association chair Pinder Chauhan described him as “a really happy guy who cared and wanted to make a difference. He will be really missed”.
Mr Morris was first elected to South Northamptonshire District Council in 2010 and then the county council three years later representing first King’s Sutton and then Silverstone.
He served as highways portfolio holder until 2019, then took over the public health cabinet brief which pitched him into the front line of the council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, chairing weekly briefings giving updates and messages for more than 18 months.
He did not stand for election to the new West Northamptonshire unitary authority in 2021 after deciding to take a break from politics to concentrate on writing.
Cllr Chauhan added: “He wanted to focus on writing his next book and releasing that. He said he wanted to come back into politics at some point but sadly that didn’t happen.
"Ian always had a lot going on outside the council, but the work he did with the council was because he cared and wanted to make a difference.
“He was a great lover of the theatre and the arts as well, he was a trustee at the Royal & Derngate Theatre. He never used to boast about what he did, he just went and did his business.
“He was very close to his family his niece, nephews, brother and sister.”
West Northamptonshire Council leader, Jonathan Nunn said: “Ian always had something positive to say, he was incredibly good humoured, and his huge integrity was obvious to anybody who met him.
“During the height of Covid-19, Ian fulfilled his responsibility as County Council cabinet member for public health in an exemplary way, and the whole of our county benefitted from the way that he combined positive challenge with strong support towards the all the professionals involved in dealing with the pandemic, and how he ensured through the weekly press briefings he chaired that the public always received up to date, accurate and honest information.”
“I had always hoped that we might tempt him back from his business and writing activities into local politics, and his death is a huge loss in that respect. But much more than that, Ian’s death marks the huge loss in West Northants of a really wonderful human being, and we are much the poorer for that.”
Mr Morris, who lived most of the time in Boddington, near Daventry where he moved around 12 years ago to renovate a farm house with his then partner.
He had two novels published — The Judge Part 1 and Part 2, the first in a series featuring solicitor-turned-detective Peter Ritchie.
According to his Amazon author’s profile he was born and raised in Surrey and became a solicitor before joining his family’s property company.
Another of Mr Morris’ former Northamptonshire County Council colleagues, Cllr Martin Griffiths, said: “Ian was a true gentleman and a public servant hugely respected by elected members and officers alike.
"He was a politician of huge intellect who performed his public duties diligently with humility and a touch of class.
"Many of his colleagues tried to emulate him but few got anywhere near.”
Current North Northamptonshire Council leader, Jason Smithers, tweeted: “This world has lost a ray of sunshine and a lovely chap.”