THE flag is flying at half mast outside Somerset County Council's HQ at County Hall, in Taunton, to mark the funeral of the authority's former chairman.

Cllr Nigel Taylor, who was elected to represent Cheddar in 2017 and served as chairman from 2018-2022, died last month.

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He was also a member of the regulation committee and a Mendip District Councillor for eight years ,including time as a cabinet member and portfolio holder for neighbourhood services.

In a tribute, Cllr Bill Revans, leader of Somerset County Council, said: “We were all deeply saddened by the news about Cllr Taylor who cared greatly for his community and did so much for public services in Somerset.

“As chair of the council he was well regarded by fellow councillors on all sides, and staff remember him fondly for his kindness and good humour, highlighted each Christmas when he would dress up as Santa and hand deliver chocolates as a thank you.

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“On behalf of the county council, I would like to offer our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues at this sad time.”

Cllr David Fothergill, leader of the Conservative Group, said: “Whether it was in his Royal Protection duties, as an internationally renowned explosives expert, for his cave rescue work or as chair of the county council, Nigel Taylor was a man of many talents and endless ability but always humble in his achievements.

“His humour, his civility and his love of people endeared him to those he met. Throughout his varied career he truly believed in public service and the contribution that he could make to improving people’s lives.

“Nigel will be missed by those whose lives he touched, he leaves each and every one of us richer for having known him.”