A KENTON councillor died on New Year's Day at St Luke's Hospice following a long battle with cancer, aged 74.

Arthur Steel, a Conservative councillor for Kenton ward since 1974, was a long serving member of the community and also served as mayor of Brent between 1993 and 1994.

He was on the board of Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) and also served on many committees with a particular interest in education.

Mr Steel was born on August 23, 1936, in Richmond, Yorkshire. He married his wife Alda and had three children - Michael, Robert and Teresa - and eight grandchildren. The family have lived in Draycott Avenue, in Kenton, for more than 30 years.

Mr Steel previously worked at the Daily Express and at a Job Centre before becoming a volunteer with Age Concern. He was a fluent Italian and French speaker, shared a love of football with his wife and was also an avid chess player. He was still playing competitive chess against his grandchildren two days before he died.

Councillor Reg Colwill, deputy leader of the Conservative Group, ward colleague, neighbour and close friend said: "Arthur was a terrific ward councillor and a great protector for the rights of the people of Brent, particularly those in the Kenton area. More than that, he was an incredibly close friend. We lived in the same street and our children grew up together. He will be sorely missed both for his friendship and his experience as a ward councillor which always kept me in good stead."

Funeral details had not been announced by the time the Observer went to press.