Tributes paid to "pillar" of East Leeds Labour Party Melvyn Burton
Tributes have been paid to a "pillar" of the East Leeds Labour Party who has been described by former leader Jeremy Corbyn as a "wonderful socialist".
Melvyn Burton was only 68 and was "known for being fit as a fiddle and an accomplished runner and a tireless pounder of the streets for political campaigns", Leeds MP Richard Burgon said in a touching Facebook tribute.
Mr Burton - a Leeds United season ticket holder and keen runner - was central to the Labour party in Leeds for "decades", he added.
In tribute, Mr Burgon said: "I am absolutely shocked and devastated as so many are that Melvyn Burton, a pillar of East Leeds Labour Party but so much more as well, has passed away.
"I can barely remember a time when Melvyn wasn’t there with us.
"In the best and most positive sense, Melvyn never changed.
"He was an ever present and it seemed like he would always be an ever present."
Mr Burgon said "words can’t do justice to Melvyn and what he meant to us" and added: "I will miss Melvyn, as I know so many will.
"My thoughts, and the thoughts of so many from the different parts of his life – political, sporting and social – are with Melvyn’s children, grandchildren and family at this unimaginably sad and difficult time."
Mr Burton's family has asked people to make a charitable donation in commemoration of his life rather than buying flowers.
His son Matt said: "Melvyn was a regular and generous donor to various charities, including Greenpeace, Oxfam and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
"Please do consider donating to one of these charities or another close to your heart."
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also paid tribute to Mr Burton following the news of his death.
Posting on social media, Mr Corbyn said: "Beautiful tribute to a wonderful socialist.
"So sorry and sad at his passing. His torch will now pass to others, all of us.
"Sympathies to family, and the Leeds Labour family."