FOND tributes have been paid to a pillar of the community and honorary citizen of Chipping Norton, who died last week.

Mike Howes, who lived in Market Street, Chippy, since 1971 and worked as an accountant, died last Thursday after losing his battle with Leukaemia.

Members of the town council paid their respects to the 73-year-old with a minute's silence at the start of Monday night's meeting.

Only back in November, members recognised him an honorary citizen for his tireless work in the community.

Described by friends as being "always on the go", Mr Howes was a member of many town groups including a former member of the Round Table, was an active member of the Chipping Norton Rotary Club and Royal British Legion and was chairman of the Chipping Norton Conservative Branch.

He was also a district councillor for eight years and founded and ran Chippy Jazz for 14 years.

Mayor Mike Tysoe said Mr Howes was a pillar of the community.

"It is difficult to remember an occasion where Mike Howes was not involved in some role or other," he said. "The Town Council were delighted to make him an Honorary Citizen of Chipping Norton last year and the attendance at his party went to show how popular the man was and how completely involved he was in life in Chippy. He will be sorely missed."

Former councillor John Grantham, who knew Mr Howes for many years, said: "He was a man who was always on the go, ever so active.

"I think he was very proud of this community and did a lot for it. He was a very nice man, always friendly. He will be greatly missed."

Simon Hamilton, publicity officer for Chipping Norton Rotary club, said Mr Howes got members interested in ShelterBox when it started, initiated Stroke Awareness Day and was involved in almost every activity in the Club as well as having been President.

They even awarded him with a Paul Harris Sapphire Award last year for his efforts.

"Mike was someone who just was so full of energy and full of enthusiasm," he said. "He was one of those with so much energy you wished you could bottle him and you often walked away having talked to him to find you had volunteered for something you had not even considered.

"He always wanted to get involved and always saw the best in everybody else."

Mr Howes leaves behind his wife Terry and two daughters.

A memorial service is being held on Friday, February 28 at St Mary's Church at 3pm.