TRIBUTES have poured in for a man who gave more than 45 years of service to Malmesbury.

Fire service, Old Corporation and town council stalwart Martyn Snell, who died on Saturday was described as a decent and kind man who was passionate about the town.

He served as mayor in 1985 and again in 1994, was a Capital Burgess in the Warden and Freemen and had taken on the important role of High Steward.

Fellow town councillor and ex-mayor Ray Sanderson, who grew up with him said: “We have been friends for a long time. We occasionally had our political differences but we shook hands and mad up. I never had a cross word with him.

“He was in the fire service at the same time as I was in the ambulance service and we worked together professionally.

“I just loved him as a mate.”

Another former mayor, Steve Cox said: “A decent, kind man who cared for this town. He was our mayor in 1985 which makes you realise how long he had been involved in civic matters. A good man. I will miss him.”

Chairman of the town’s chamber of commerce Aimee Frankham, who also spent time as a councillor, described his death as a “terrible loss of a town stalwart.”

Former North Wiltshire District councillor Lesley Bennett said:” He always did and said what he thought was right. There was no side to him.”

Sgt Martin Alvis, from Malmesbury Police added: “I worked with Martyn for many, many years, both when he was in the fire service and as a town councillor. He was a great bloke and was passionate about making things better for Malmesbury.”

As well as being one of the 13 Capital Burgesses in the ancient organisation, Mr Snell was also the High Steward, a role that involved dealing with its legal affairs.

Born in 1945, he moved to the town in the 1960s. He qualified as a plumber with Cox and Hall at Tetbury before joining the old Malmesbury Borough Council as a handyman and then moving to the local water authority.

Made redundant from a roofing firm he found work with Wiltshire Fire Service as a hydrant inspector ” It was, a job which he loved as he felt he was his own boss out of the office enjoying the beautiful Wiltshire countryside,” said a family tribute. “Doing this job also fuelled his passion for identifying fire insurance marks, many of which he had started to catalogue in retirement.”

Mr Snell joined the retained fire crew in 1969, served for 30 years and left as station commander. He finally retired from hydrant checking two years ago.

He fell ill last year but still attended several council meetings.

A private funeral service is being held but donations to Malmesbury Link transport service and Cancer Research UK can be made through Matthews funeral directors.