TRIBUTES have been paid to Honorary Alderman and former Mayor of Sandwell Martin Prestidge who has died at the age of 81.

Alderman Prestidge served as a councillor for 28 years, initially representing the Rounds Green ward of Warley Borough Council from 1971 to 1973.

He later represented Smethwick’s Soho ward from 1973 to 1975 and Langley ward for 24 years from 1987 to 2011.

Alderman Prestidge was a member of several boards and panels during his tenure including the Finance and Audit Scrutiny Panel in 2004-2005 and the Finance and Resources Scrutiny Panel from 2005-2011.

He served as the Mayor of Sandwell in 2003-2004 and was bestowed the title of Honorary Alderman in July 2013.

Halesowen News: Martin Prestidge as Mayor of Sandwell with wife Mary Prestidge who was the MayoressMartin Prestidge as Mayor of Sandwell with wife Mary Prestidge who was the Mayoress (Image: Sandwell Council)

His death was marked at Sandwell’s full council meeting on March 19 with a minute’s silence after which councillors paid tribute to the long-serving councillor and alderman, who was well-respected for his wide-ranging community and charitable work.

Sandwell Council’s deputy leader, Councillor Bob Piper, said: “Martin served the people of Sandwell as a councillor and an alderman for over 50 years. He was the last surviving member of the inaugural Sandwell Council meeting back in 1974.

“I have been proud to know him for more than 40 years. He will be sadly missed by colleagues and the many friends he made during his time in office, and personally I have lost a very dear friend.

“Our thoughts at the council are with the family, friends and loved ones at this very sad time.”

The Sandwell flag at the council house in Oldbury was lowered as a mark of respect for the late former mayor.