Nottingham City councillors have paid tribute to a local community leader and activist, Leo Keely, who died at the weekend.

Mr Keely was Chair of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum for some years, as well as playing an instrumental role in a range of local community campaigns, from keeping The Forest open to the public, and achieving traffic restrictions traffic through the Noel Street area, to admitting children from the local area without qualifications to a local technical school.

He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the voluntary and community category of the Nottingham Awards three years ago.

City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “I am really sorry to hear of Leo’s death and offer my heartfelt condolences to his family and the many friends he made in Nottingham and elsewhere.

“His death comes at a time when we can see how Nottingham cares for those in need and how Nottingham’s communities empower themselves – and he was a really great example of that.

“He lived and worked in Nottingham all his life. In his working life he was a civil servant and a volunteer in the trade union movement, in the anti-apartheid movement and he was active in Nottingham local politics.

“He was awarded a lifetime achievement in the voluntary and community category of the Nottingham Awards in 2017. He volunteered and later chaired the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum where I worked with him, as well as chairing the St Ann’s & Chase Community Centre, among other roles.

“He was always a local community activist with a key role in various campaigns, as well as taking a great interest in community sport. Nottingham benefited greatly from his community spirit and will be the poorer without him.”

Wollaton West Councillor Steve Battlemuch added: “Leo was someone who empowered others, never one to claim credit or hog the spotlight. His passion for Nottingham and civil society nationally and internationally shone through.”