BOROUGH councillor Michael Clarke has died after a long battle against cancer.
The former leader of Rotherham Borough Councils Conservative group was given the Freedom of the Borough last year after serving as a councillor for more than 40 years.
Cllr Clarke, who represented the Sitwell ward, spoke last year of his battle against prostate cancer and joined fellow Tory Cllr John Turner in calling for blanket screening for the disease among men over 50.
On learning that he was to be given the Freedom of the Borough last year, Cllr Clarke said that he felt humbled.
"It must be the only time I can remember that a sitting Conservative councillor has been awarded this great honour by the town," he said.
"It has touched me that the people I've represented have supported me for so long.
Cllr Clarke, who sparred with his Labour rivals on a series of issues but always enjoyed a joke, added: "I have heard that with the Freedom of the Borough you can drive your sheep through the town but I thought that I might get some Texas longhorns to make things interesting."
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