TRIBUTES have come in from across the county following the death of former Kendal mayor Dr Colin Reynolds.

An internationally renowned expert in the field of freshwater studies, Dr Reynolds was a district councillor for many years and was an active and hugely respected member of the local community, being especially noted for the key role he played in the setting up of Stricklandgate House as a base providing facilities and services for voluntary groups.

Born in London, Dr Reynolds grew up in Shropshire and went on to study at the University of London where he gained a PhD.

In 1970 he became senior scientific officer with the Freshwater Biological Association, which is based at Ferry House in Windermere, and while with the organisation he had a book and more than 75 scientific papers published, many of them detailing the extensive research he carried out into microscopic algae and plankton in rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

Dr Reynolds was a South Lakeland District councillor for more than a decade in the 1980s and 1990s and was a former vice chairman of the environmental health committee as well as playing an active role in the housing committee and the policy and resources committee.

“Colin Reynolds was a committed and respected councillor," said SLDC chief executive Lawrence Conway. "He was very pleasant and extremely well liked by staff and fellow district councillors alike.”

Dr Reynolds also served on Kendal Town Council, representing the Strickland ward, and he was the town's mayor in 1992/3.

He was also chair of the town council's disabled persons and environment committees and also served on its highways committee.

As well as his close involvement with Stricklandgate House, Dr Reynolds was also involved with numerous other local organisations, being chairman of the Kendal and District Home Safety Committee, the Lakes Line Action Group and the Cumbria Trust for Nature Conservation.

John Gallagher, centre manager at Stricklandgate House, paid tribute to a man who was hugely respected across Kendal and beyond.

"Many local people will have known Colin and what he contributed to Stricklandgate House over almost a quarter of a century from its inception in the early 1990's cannot be over-stated," said Mr Gallagher.

"Stricklandgate House is a fine Georgian building in the centre of Kendal and having had many uses over the centuries is now the well-known Centre for Voluntary Organisations which benefits so many people in Kendal and the South Lakes.

"In fact it is highly likely that this building in its current form might not even exist if it hadn’t been for the dedication and hard work that Colin as chairman and a dedicated board of trustees put into this place.

"Colin was instrumental in sourcing a large amount of grant funding to bring what was becoming a very run-down building up to the well maintained, welcoming and well-used community building place it is today.

"He was passionate about protecting the heritage of this historic building and delighted in giving guided tours and sharing that heritage with the public.

"Having retired as chairman a few years ago, Colin remained as a trustee, attending the most recent board meeting only a few weeks ago and as always contributing wise words to the discussions.

"Stricklandgate House stands as a testament to a true gentleman who gave so much time and effort freely to benefit other people and is a legacy of which his family can be justifiably proud, and he will be missed."

Dr Reynolds, whose wife Jean was for many years a teacher at Dean Gibson Catholic Primary School in Kendal, lived at Applerigg, and had three children, Stephen, Simon and Sarah.

In his spare time he enjoyed walking and working on practical conservation projects.

He died at the age of 76 on December 3 at Heron Hill Care Home and his funeral will be held tomorrow at Holy Trinity and St. George Church on New Road, Kendal.