FORMER colleagues have paid tribute to a hard-working ex-mayor following his death.
Keith Edwards, 63, of Gosport, the town’s mayor from 2004 to 2005, was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital from his home aboard a boat in Haslar Marina on Thursday but later died in hospital on Saturday.
Mr Edwards was a councillor from 1998 to 2012, first as a Liberal Democrat in Elson ward before moving to the Conservative Party at the end of his mayoral year in Bridgemary North.
Cllr Graham Burgess was Mr Edwards’ deputy mayor.
‘It came as a shock on Saturday morning when I was informed,’ he said.
‘He was a very hard-working and very diligent mayor as well as a councillor.
‘He was very well respected by other members of the chamber and it’s very sad as his untimely death comes at a relatively young age. He had a very good sense of humour, he was very good in company.
‘He was in a loving relationship, and his life looked rosy for him, it really did.’
Cllr Burgess added that Mr Edwards had done much to improve Gosport’s standing while mayor and had been well received by the groups he had visited.
Mr Edwards joined the Royal Navy aged 15, before leaving and starting work as a lorry driver.
He also worked at Hampshire County Council as a child welfare officer.
He leaves behind a partner, three sisters, Sally, Wendy and Karen, two sons, Mark and Michael, and two grandsons and a granddaughter.
Mr Edwards was married to his wife Carol for 30 years before she died in 2005.
Cllr Mark Hook, the leader of the Gosport Borough Council, said he became close to Mr Edwards from 2004.
He said: ‘It’s a very sad time and I send my condolences to his family.
Cllr Hook said: ‘It’s a devastating piece of news and a complete shock – he’d only just come back from a five-week holiday, in Australia.
‘He overcame his problem with dyslexia, which he found extremely difficult, but in council meetings he coped very well with that condition.
‘He was a good councillor and represented his wards well and worked tirelessly for the people of Gosport.’
Gosport firefighters were called to assist ambulance crews to take Mr Edwards out of his moored boat at Haslar Marina, where he also worked as night berthing master.