TRIBUTES have been paid to Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate Neil Flower who has died suddenly and unexpectedly ahead of the local elections on May 4.

Mr Flower, from Aberporth and who was standing for the Llandyfriog ward of Ceredigion County Council, died yesterday.

Ceredigion's MP and Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Mark Williams said: "I was only with Neil on Sunday evening discussing the elections and he was his usual cheerful and enthusiastic self, so this has come as a huge shock to us all.

“He has always been highly supportive of me as a candidate and an MP. I will miss him greatly. My deepest condolences to Stefani and the family".

Speaking on behalf of Neil's wife Stefani, his election agent Cllr Mark Cole said: "As a liberal family here in Ceredigion, we were all shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Neil's sudden passing yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with Stefani and family at this very sad time.

"Neil had been an activist in the radical liberal tradition since the days of the SDP and he had a strong commitment to the fundamental democratic process which so many people take for granted.

“He has been an active campaigner over the years and full of energy. This has come completely out of the blue.

“In recent years, Neil had stood in council elections to ensure that they were contested and that democracy would rightly run its course.

"One of his final decisions was to do so this time once again by standing in the Llandyfriog ward to ensure that there would be a contest.

“In the meantime, he was actively supporting his wife Stefani in her council campaign in Aberporth, where they have run their Ffynonwen Guest House for many years.

"As a party, we salute this commitment and we hope that residents throughout the county follow Neil's lead by using their vote, for whoever they choose, this coming Thursday.”