THE often controversial councillor and former deputy leader of Allerdale council has died at the age of 80.

David Wilson retired home to the Aspatria area after a long and eventful career which included many years in the Metropolitan Police Flying Squad. He was given a key to the City of London for his work there.

Born and raised in Aspatria, he joined the merchant navy on leaving school. He returned and trained as a police officer, serving first in Whitehaven.

His job then took him to London but on retirement he returned to West Cumbria.

He joined Aspatria Town Council, serving two periods as mayor. He was then elected to Allerdale council in 2003 where he stood as a Conservative but then changed to Independent and UKIP before changing back to Independent.

During his time on Allerdale David sat on many committees and outside bodies. He was Executive member for Customer Services 2007–2009 and was Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive member for Finance and Asset Management from 2009–2011.

The other love in Mr Wilson's life was his rugby.

Fellow Aspatria councillor and lifetime friend Alan Reay said: "We were only a couple of months apart in age.

"We started school together, played rugby union together and, when he returned to Aspatria, we served on the Aspatria club's committee together. He was secretary for a while."

After England, Mr Wilson supported the All Blacks and travelled to New Zealand on at least two occasions to watch the national team in action.

Mr Reay, who was best man at Mr Wilson's wedding and godfather to his children, said although they were poles apart on the political spectrum, Mr Wilson had been a hard working councillor, representing Aspatria well on Allerdale.

The flag at the Workington headquarters of Allerdale flew at half-mast this week out of respect for the councillor.

Mr Wilson had four children who are scattered across the world including son Andrew, who works for the foreign office in Lebanon.