DUDLEY councillors are mourning the death of a former mayor who has been described as a "true gentleman".

Wollaston and Stourbridge Town councillor Malcolm Knowles died peacefully at his home on October 9, aged 79, after a short battle against cancer.

The popular Conservative politician, from Swincross Road, was a metallurgist by profession who built a successful engineering business.

He was also a collector of classic vehicles, including an A35 van which became a familiar sight displaying political posters during many election campaigns.

Following the announcement of his death today (Monday October 15) tributes have been pouring in, including from life-long friend and fellow Wollaston ward councillor, Liz Walker.

Cllr Walker said: "He had a superb sense of humour, he was a wonderful character.

"I would like to remember Malcolm as a true gentleman who was committed to the Wollaston and Stourbridge community, he always responded to his constituents - right up to his death.

"He believed passionately in Stourbridge, he was simply the best."

Cllr Knowles served two terms as a Dudley Councillor, from 1975 to 1995 and again from 2002 until his death.

He was Mayor of Dudley in the 2004/05 year and a member of several council committees including the cabinet, where he was lead member for regeneration from 2006 to 2009.

The current Mayor of Dudley, Cllr Melvyn Mottram, said: “We are all saddened at the death of former mayor, Councillor Malcolm Knowles, and our thoughts are with his family at this time.

"As the Mayor of Dudley he raised thousands of pounds for his charities Dudley Deaf Children’s Society and Carers2Carers Helpline, which made a real difference to two worthy causes.”

Cllr Knowles is survived by his wife, Shirleyanne, three children and eight grandchildren.

His funeral will take place at St Thomas's Church, Stourbridge, at 2.30pm on Monday October 22.