South Hams District Council today pays tribute to former Leader, Richard Yonge, who has passed away on Friday 14 October while living in his family home, Puslinch House, Yealmpton.

Born in August 1939, Richard passed away aged 83, with his family around him.

Well known around the Yealmpton area, Richard served the ward since being elected in 1975. He became Deputy Leader of the Council in 1999, taking over as Leader in 2001.

While in office, he had specific interests in Strategic Planning and Economic Development and served on numerous committees including the Policy Committee, Resources Committee and the Cabinet, before leading the Executive from 2002.

Altogether, he served at the District Council for 32 Years. Subsequently, he was granted an Honorary Alderman of the District position for his long and dedicated service to the Council.

Cllr Keith Baldry, South Hams District Council’s Ward Councillor for Newton and Yealmpton, said: “I knew Richard for over 30 years. Even though we were political rivals, we were good friends. We met most Sundays in church and we were both parish councillors. He took over from me as Chairman when I was elected to his District councillor role.

“He was a good and modest person, who was always helpful. I am sad that I will no longer be able ask his advice, nor continue our friendship.

“All our thoughts at the Council go to his son Tim and the rest of his family at this very sad time.”

Outside of the Council, Richard spent his spare time enjoyed the countryside. He lived on Ashcombe Farm until his wife died two years ago and then he moved back into the family home where he died.

At the farm, they kept sheep, and Angora goats that he loved to show at Devon County Show and for which he was a prize-winner.

The funeral has been arranged for 2.30pm on Friday 4th November at St Bartholomew’s Yealmpton. All are welcome to attend.

.Richard will be buried next to his wife, Mary, in a small woodland on the farmland.