NEIL Sorton who has died at the age of 79 was a Poole councillor for more than 40-years.

The Echo reported on his election in May 1966 when the Conservative candidate "first won a seat from the Socialists".

He went on to represent Oakdale for 29 years and Canford Cliffs for 16 years, with a four-year gap from 1995 when he lost his seat, until ill-health led him to stand down at May's borough election.

A solicitor by profession he was educated at Dulwich College, London and Hertford College, Oxford where he took an honours degree in law.

He moved to Poole in the 1950s and became active in Poole Conservative Association.

He served on and then chaired the Dorset Pension Fund Committee, was a member of the Dorset Adoption Panel for many years, one of the first trustees of Poole Arts Centre (now Lighthouse) and became company secretary to its board of directors, meeting Princess Diana when she visited in 1988.

For some years he was leader of the Conservative group and was a member of Pooltive councillor for Canford Cliffs for Borough of Poole councile Council's cabinet from 2003 until he retired in May.

He had been the council's representative on Poole Harbour Commissioners and was at one time chairman of the Bournemouth Branch of the English Speaking Union.

Gaining respect from across the chamber, he was to have been proposed at a meeting of Borough of Poole on December 15 for the council's highest honour, that of Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Poole.

His funeral service took place yesterday at Canford Magna Church, attended by the Mayor, Cllr Ann Stribley. He leaves a wife Anita, two children and two step-children.