TRIBUTES have been paid to a Malvern Hills district councillor who died after he collapsed while speaking at a meeting.
Cllr Chris Cheeseman was rushed to hospital after losing consciousness at the meeting on Monday night, but was pronounced dead on arrival.
When Cllr Cheeseman collapsed, at about 7.40pm, fellow councillors and members of the public rushed to his aid; Cllrs Jan Marriot and Adam Rea applied CPR while others dialled 999 and Cllr Hannah Campbell ran to Malvern Splash for a defibrillator.
Paramedics soon arrived at the council chamber off Avenue Road and took over the treatment, taking him to the Royal Worcestershire Hospital at about 8.20pm.
Cllr Cheeseman, aged 73, had been Conservative member for the Wells ward since 2007, and served on many committees, including chairing the standards committee.
He was also also involved in Community Action, Malvern Hills AONB Joint Advisory Committee, Malvern Hills Conservators and was former vice-chairman of the West Worcestershire Conservative Association.
Cllr Paul Swinburn, deputy leader of MHDC, said: “Chris was a devoted councillor who gave a lot of time to the council and his other roles on various committees. This is a very sad time for all of us here at the council and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Ann and his family.”
Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, said: “Chris Cheeseman was a hard-working local councillor and a very thoughtful and kind person. He was passionate about his politics and was attending a council meeting when he fell ill. In recent years he has been a devoted carer for his wife Ann.
“I know he will be greatly missed by his friends, colleagues, residents of Malvern Wells and West Worcestershire Conservatives and my thoughts are with Ann and the family at this very sad time.”
A statement from Malvern Hills Conservators said the board and staff were deeply saddened by Cllr Cheeseman's death.
"As a member of the board for nearly seven years, Chris played an important role in protecting the Malvern Hills landscape he was so fond of. We would like to express our thanks for his work to preserve the hills and commons. Our deepest sympathies go to Chris's family."
Before becoming a councillor, Mr Cheeseman ran a guest house and restaurant with his wife at their home, Mellbreaks, in Malvern Wells.
Malvern resident Pat Grizzell, who dined there a number of times, said: "It was a unique experience with wonderful food and a friendly atmosphere. You were always made welcome and I especially remember the wide choice of vegetables and superb puddings. Mr Cheeseman was always front of house, usually sporting a jaunty bow tie, while his wife was in the kitchen creating some fabulous food."
West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed it was called at 7.44pm to a suspected cardiac arrest, and a paramedic in a rapid response vehicle and an ambulance were dispatched.
The meeting of the planning committee had been called to decide a controversial application for housing on land of Eastward Road, on the edge of Malvern.