Tributes have been paid to former Richmond Conservative councillor Rodney Bennett, after he died following a stroke.

South Richmond councillor Peter Buckwell contacted Richmond Times to supply the following obituary:

Rodney Bennett, who represented South Richmond Ward as a councillor from 2002 to 2010 sadly passed away on Friday the 10th May. He had been in hospital after suffering a stroke.

Rodney was from a naval family and following national service in the Royal Navy he went into broadcasting. He wrote and broadcast at BBC/LBC where he was a well-known reporter and interviewer. He then spent several years as a broadcaster in Singapore and Ethiopia. He himself estimated that during his career he had carried out over eight thousand interviews.

Although Conservative, serving firstly on the Kensington & Chelsea Council in the 1960s, Rodney was active in the trades union movement during the Thatcher and Major governments as a member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (BECTU) of which he was given life membership for his services. He was an officeholder in the Conservative Trade Unionists (CTU) becoming its London chairman.

He moved to Richmond in 1990 and was elected to the Council in 2002, serving on the planning and regulatory committees amongst others. He spoke up for the Ward on many occasions and continued as a councillor until 2010 when he retired. He was a governor of Grey Court School in Ham and Vice-Chairman of Mortlake Crematorium. An often-trenchant letter writer his correspondence has appeared in many newspapers.

Rodney was a passionate opera lover and once informed that he had been to all the main opera houses across the World. His flat in Lichfield Court was decorated with many mementoes from past performances and at one time he contributed articles to the classic magazine, Music and Musicians. He also had republished several books on naval history by his father Geoffrey Bennett, an author and naval historian.

Rodney followed his interests with passion. He was a hard-working councillor with great public spirit. We will miss him very much.

The funeral is to be held at Mortlake Crematorium on Thursday 30th May at 10.40am. The family have requested no flowers.