North Yorkshire County Council has paid tribute to Cllr John Blackie, describing him as a 'crusading member for the Upper Dales' and a champion of rural communities.
Cllr Blackie has died this weekend following a long illness. He was first elected in 1997 and led the independent group on the council.
The authority said Cllr Blackie fought for the long term sustainability of the most remote communities, aiming to ensure that young families could continue to live in the Dales.
Cllr Blackie was a prominent member of the campaign to keep maternity and acute services at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton. He established the community transport scheme The Little White Bus, to provide scheduled services in Swaledale and Wensleydale.
The council leader, Cllr Carl Les, said the thoughts of all went out to Cllr Blackie's family and friends: