A FORMER town councillor will be remembered for his “distinguished service and unfailing good humour”.

Earlier this week Shaftesbury Town Council announced the passing of Ray Humphries MBE, who was a councillor within the town for around 13 years.

In a tribute, the authority said: “The mayor, councillors and officers of Shaftesbury Town Council are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ray Humphries.

“Ray was a stalwart of the town and deeply involved in our community. He was a town councillor for 13 years and a mayor twice, in 1997 and 2001, and his time in office is remembered for his distinguished service and unfailing good humour.”

The council said Ray was also a “core member” of the town’s Silver Band, chairman of the carnival committee, chairman of Shaftesbury in Bloom, and a member of many other organisations.

It added: “In recognition of their unparalleled and dedicated service to the town, the town council was honoured that Ray and his wife Chris, accepted our invitation in 2010 to be Freemen of the Town – a rare honour that has only been awarded to 11 people.

“In 2011, in recognition of his long service to our community Ray was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. We extend our deepest sympathies to Chris, and to Ray’s family at this very sad time.”

In memory of Ray a minute’s silence was held during the full council meeting on Tuesday.

Also heard during the meeting, Dorset councillor for Shaftesbury Derek Beer said Ray "worked harder for the town for his people than anyone else in living memory".

He said: "Throughout his entire life, as a Shaftesbury man through and through, [Ray had] devoted every spare moment and more to serving the local community."

Councillor Beer said Ray will be remembered most for his "decades of really hard graft and commitment to Shaftesbury Carnival all year round".

He later added that Ray's level of kindness has left its mark in peoples' hearts and minds.

"The town has lost a great friend, his legacy is everywhere, he must not be forgotten."

A 'Book of Condolence' has been set up on the Shaftesbury Town Council website, where residents can submit a message and record memories about Ray.