TRIBUTES have been pouring in for a dedicated Dudley councillor after she lost her battle with a long-term illness.

Councillor Mary Roberts, who represented the St James's ward, died at Mary Stevens Hospice on Wednesday (November 11).

The popular Labour councillor was first elected in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011 and again in May this year.

Cllr Roberts, who leaves behind one daughter and two granddaughters, was the vice-chairman of the authority’s audit and standards committee.

She was also a member of the council’s health scrutiny committee, licensing and safety committee and the Castle and Priory, St Thomas’s and St James’s community forum.

The Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Steve Waltho, led tributes to Cllr Roberts, saying: “Mary served the council with great honour over the best part of the last decade and she will certainly be missed by all.

"Our thoughts are with Mary’s closest friends and family at this very sad time."

Her fellow ward councillor Khurshid Ahmed added: “Mary's passing is not only a sad news for me and my family but also for the people she served so passionately in Dudley.

"Mary was a wonderful ambassador for the St James’s ward and the wider borough.

"As a ward colleague and a friend she was always kind, thoughtful, helpful and very loyal.

"She will be sadly missed and my thoughts are very much with her family at this time.”

Dudley North MP Ian Austin said many people in the town had "lost a very good friend".

He continued: “Mary spent her whole life in the service of others as a great teacher and a wonderful councillor.

"Many people will have led more fulfilled lives as a result of her work as a teacher and she helped hundreds of families and local community groups during her eight years on the council.

“She was loved and respected by councillors from all parties and she’ll be missed by us all.

"On a personal note, I’ll never forget the encouragement, advice, help and support she always gave me."

Cllr Roberts' funeral will take place at 4.10pm on Friday (November 20) at Gornal Wood Crematorium.

In lieu of flowers, friends and colleagues can make a donation to Mary Stevens Hospice.