Former Largs and Fairlie councillor Richard Wilkinson has passed away.

Richard, who also chaired the Largs Town Twinning Committee, played an active role in a number of local groups in the area.

West of Scotland Conservative MSP Jamie Greene said: “My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. Richard worked tirelessly in the local community, not just in politics but in many other ways.

“He was well respected by those of all political persuasions and those of none, and will be missed by the local association. It’s a sad loss, no least personally, as he supported me patiently and enthusiastically these past five years. We will continue his good work in North Ayrshire and be grateful for having known him.

Richard, who also once stood as a Conservative candidate in Greenock for the Scottish Government, still remained a strong voice in the political party as chairman of the North Ayrshire Conservatives.

Away from party politics, Richard's role as chairman of the Town Twinning Association resulted in Largs partnering Andernos Les Bains in the south west coast of France - a strong link which has lasted over a decade and resulted in many exchange trips between the towns as well as an inter-country sports tournament held in Largs in 2014 involving Segorbe of Spain and Nussloch of Germany.

He was also the first chairman of the Hunterston site stakeholders group when it first launched in the area.

Conservative group leader Tom Marshall for North Ayrshire commented: “ It was so hard for the Conservative group on North Ayrshire Council to hear of the passing of Richard Wilkinson the local Conservative  Party Chairman.

"Richard was a real gentleman and his hard work was greatly appreciated by all who knew.  I have known him for a number of years and enjoyed working together  to support and to help and Conservative party policies in North Ayrshire. One of his proudest moments was at the last local election when seven Conservative councillors were elected. It was in no small part due to him.

"Richard was  first elected as a Strathclyde Region Councillor before he joined Cunningham District Council. On the national scene  Richard was a member of the Conservative Management Board and was the Conference Chairman.

 "We extend own deepest sympathy to his family to Victoria and Miles.”