A FORMER town mayor and borough councillor has died just five weeks after his wife, the first female council leader.

Robert Ronson, known as Bob, died in hospital on Monday aged 83.

Just three weeks earlier, he attended the funeral of his wife Barbara at a civic ceremony held on November 12.

The father-of-two also lost his son Michael in June, but he is survived by his other son and namesake Robert. The Liberal Democrat councillor retired from civic life along with his wife in 2011 after a long career in politics starting in Horwich.

He was first elected to the town council in 1987 and represented Horwich North East at Bolton Council for 18 years.

As a Liberal Democrat he was part of the smallest faction on the council until June 10, 2004 when overnight the Lib Dems became the largest party and his wife became leader.

He served as the first male consort to a Mayor of Bolton when his wife Barbara held this position in 2007 - 2008 and he also became an Honorary Alderman of the Borough of Bolton in 2011.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Linda Thomas, said: “I am really saddened by this news and I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. Bob was a true gent and, like Barbara, he was a dedicated public servant who worked tirelessly for his community.”

UKIP Leader Sean Hornby said: “Bob was a true gentleman a tireless ambassador to Horwich.”

where he represented and a good servant to the people of our town. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. It was a pleasure to know him and to serve on committees when he was on the council “

Born in 1935, he did his National Service in the RAF and was a former British Aerospace employee and radio and television service engineer.