TRIBUTES are being paid to Bolton councillor Paul Wild, who lost his 15 month battle against bowel cancer at Bolton Hospice earlier today.

His son, Matthew, was by his side and his other son James was with him virtually from Australia through the use of FaceTime.

An Astley Bridge resident for 40 years, 76-year-old Cllr Wild was first elected to Bolton Council in 2011 and was liked and respected by his colleagues in all parties.

He suffered tragedy in February this year when his wife Christine, who he described as his "soulmate" and was also a councillor, died suddenly.

The Bolton News: Paul and Christine Wild in AustraliaPaul and Christine Wild in Australia

Last year he was diagnosed with cancer, which he has fought bravely for the last few months before being admitted to the hospice a week ago.

Paying tribute, his fellow Conservative councillors have spoken of their "great sadness" at the loss of Cllr Wild and sent condolences to his two sons and their families including grandchildren Millie, aged 16, Thomas, 15, Ella, aged 11 and Jackson, nine.

His close friend of 40 years, and ward colleague, Cllr Hilary Fairclough said:” I am heartbroken.

"Paul asked for so very little, but gave so very much. He was a true friend to me and I will miss him dreadfully. A true gentleman who I am proud to have known.”

Leader of the Council, and friend, Cllr David Greenhalgh added:” Although prepared for the news, we are still devastated.

"Paul was liked and respected across all political parties.

"You couldn’t have wished to have met a lovelier couple than Paul and Christine and to lose them both in the same year, is heartbreaking, and our thoughts and love are with their family.”

His family told how Cllr Wild was devoted to Bolton Wanderers, Bolton and Astley Bridge.

"But his greatest love was our mum Cllr Christine Wild, who died suddenly in February this year; a loss that was hard to bear for us all, especially dad. He described mum as his best friend and his soulmate," said James.

Cllr Wild started his working life at Greenshield Stamps and Refuge Insurance but worked for much of his life in newspapers, including at The Bolton News for many years.

"It was a running joke in the family that you couldn’t go anywhere in the town without bumping into some he knew through his time working at ‘the paper’," said James.

"When he retired, he wanted to put something back into the community and subsequently served as a loyal and hard-working councillor for over nine years – ironically making him even less inconspicuous around town!"

Cllr Wild devoted his latter years to the community, helping fellow residents and taking great pride in ensuring flowers lined the main roads, the lamppost Poppy Appeal each November and the Astley Bridge Christmas Lights switch-on.

"During his cancer treatment he was still working behind the scenes to support the community and to answer the calls of the Astley Bridge residents," said James.

"It is a measure of the man that his kindness and commitment to public service always came first."

In September last year, after receiving positive news that he was temporarily winning his battle with cancer, he took delight in handing his consultant Dr Wasat Mansoor a £2,500 fund-raising cheque courtesy of the Mayor's charity.

The Bolton News: Cllr Wild hands over cheque to Dr Wasat Mansoor at The ChristieCllr Wild hands over cheque to Dr Wasat Mansoor at The Christie

"What we will miss the most is his humour," said James.

"Our homes and no doubt the Town Hall will be all the quieter in his absence.

"Ask anyone that knew him; they will have a story to tell about him, how he brought some light into their lives or about one of his many, many unfortunate mishaps (usually at his own expense).

"Even in the final hours, and at his weakest, he was thinking of others, cheering the family up and making us laugh."

Due to Covid restrictions Cllr Wild's funeral will be limited to close family only but his relatives have asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to Bolton Hospice.

And they ask that, as bowel cancer is cureable if diagnosed early enough, people, especially the over 60s, should get themselves checked out.