TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Lord Mayor of York following his death at the age of 92.

Cyril Waite, who held the civic role in 1986/87 and spent 23 years as a Labour councillor for Heworth, kept his political passion after retiring from City of York Council as an Honorary Alderman in 2003.

During his mayoral year, Mr Waite’s wife Marjorie, a fellow councillor died. The council’s Labour group said he continued his duties “the only way he knew how”, saying he was “unique”.

Mr Waite later opened a new new sheltered housing complex named Marjorie Waite Court in his late wife’s honour.

City of York Council leader James Alexander said: “Cyril spoke in line with his political principles whenever the opportunity arose, which was true until as recently as last year when he still attended branch meetings.

“He maintained a keen interest in the workings of the council and how politicians were reflecting the will of residents, and wasn’t backward in saying so when he thought this wasn’t the case.”

Heworth councillor Ruth Potter said: “I am always amazed by the number of people who remember him and his hard work for local residents, who always speak very highly of him.

“He was renowned for his strong principles and speaking up for residents. He was greatly missed when he retired and people will be very sad to hear of his death.”

Colleague and friend Coun Brian Watson remembered Mr Waite’s “wicked sense of humour” and insistence on Labour councillors wearing red ties for budget debates.

He said: “He was a true gentleman who always thought about people and their welfare – I will miss him greatly.”

Mr Waite was a Second World War spitfire pilot and after leaving the RAF he worked in insurance and spent a year at the London School of Economics.

A supporter of York Castle Museum and a keen gardener, he was Labour’s vice-chair in the 1980s and involved in the Co-op movement. He leaves a daughter, Maggie, and grandchildren Richard and Liz.