Tributes have been paid to a ‘caring’ and ‘passionate’ former councillor who died suddenly while on holiday in Vietnam.
Former Kirklees councillor Peter O’Neill died during a Christmas break with his family near Ho Chi Minh City.
The cause of death is yet to be established.
He retired from the council due to ill health in May 2015 but continued to be active in the Kirklees Labour Party.
His daughter Marielle, who was elected to her father’s seat in May, spoke of her devastation.
She said: “I am devastated at the loss of my beloved father.
“My dad was a man of the highest integrity and a high moral character. Where he saw wrong he tried to right it, where he saw injustice, he tried to fight it. He was the most non-judgemental person who always saw the good in others.
“He always gave 100% to everything he did and would go out of his way to help people.
“He will be sorely missed by his family and the local community.”
Fellow Kirklees Labour councillors also spoke of their shock and sadness at the passing of a ‘caring’, ‘passionate’ and ‘conscientious’ local politician and union activist.
Batley West councillor Shabir Pandor said: “It’s really shocking.
“He was a great man. He was quiet, very conscientious and caring. He had a very good awareness of the situation surrounding him.
“He was very passionate about what he believed in and he had foresight and vision that a lot of people don’t have.
“It’s come completely out of the blue and I just can’t believe it.”
Fellow Batley West Labour councillor Gwen Lowe said: “When I first stood for the council Peter was my agent and he was wonderful.
“He was passionate about the things he believed in.
“I still can’t get my head around it. We were a good team and we’d been through tears and laughter.
“He will be massively missed.”
Kirklees Mayor Paul Kane also paid tribute to Mr O’Neill, of Batley.
Clr Kane said: “He was high profile in the union and after that he went into the council and the cabinet – and he was good at it.
“It’s a sad loss.
“He helped me with my campaign and I was very grateful. He did a lot with a lot of people.”
Clr Kane added: “It’s a crying shame and he will be sorely missed.”
Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox also paid tribute saying: “Peter was a hard working, deeply committed and passionate advocate for many many causes, not least as a councillor for Batley West.
“He threw his heart and soul into everything he did and was respected and loved because of it. He had an acute sense of duty and principle that guided his many battles for those less fortunate than himself.
“His death is incredibly sad and unexpected and he will be missed, by many people in Batley and beyond.
“The kindness, friendship and support that Peter and his family showed me personally were major factors in me becoming the MP for Batley & Spen. I will never forget that.
“My thoughts are with his family – his wife Gillian and his children Dawn, Sean and Marielle and his grandchildren.”