THE tributes that we publish today to councillor and community campaigner John Blackie are only a fraction of the many heartfelt comments given about the 70-year-old, following his death last weekend.

The statement that we feel sums him up best is this from David Hartley, managing director of the Wensleydale Creamery – the now-thriving operation that Cllr Blackie campaigned to save from closure three decades ago.

Mr Hartley told us: “He fought tirelessly for what he believed in – people, social justice, fairness, opportunity for all, our environment, education, housing, rural economic prosperity and wellbeing – all wrapped up in the objective of prosperity for Hawes, Wensleydale and the Upper Dales.”

From schools, to transport, to housing and health services, Cllr Blackie would battle on behalf of his community for any cause he believed would benefit the people living in the remote and beautiful Dale he called home.

His time as a councillor was not without controversy, and his outspoken, forthright approach caused ructions at many a council meeting.

But that is what local politics should be about – passionate characters committed to their communities working with, and when necessary, taking on, the decision makers at regional and national level.

It is a mark of his dedication that Cllr Blackie was working right up to the point at which his health, poor for so many years, finally failed him, and fitting that he spent his last days in the Friarage, the hospital he did so much to support.

Politics, and the Dales, are a poorer place for his passing.