FAMILY and friends have paid tribute to a leading Wrexham councillor who died suddenly at the age of 66.

Barrie Price, who had served as the Plaid Cyrmu member for Ruabon for the past three-and-a-half years and was deputy leader of his party on the council, died on Tuesday afternoon.

He had been out for lunch with friends and began complaining of a headache soon after he returned home to Vicarage Fields in Ruabon.

His distraught wife of 40 years, Elaine, said he then collapsed from what is suspected to be a massive brain haemorrhage.

Mrs Price said: “His death has been such a terrible shock to all who knew him.

“Since people began to hear about it I have been overwhelmed with tributes to him.

“He was such a good man who always wanted to help people and do his very best for them.

“He had so much more he wanted to do – so many projects.

“It is so sad he won’t see them completed.

“He was a fantastic man, so caring, and will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him.”

Cllr Price spent his entire working career of more than 40 years with Dee Valley Water, from where he took early retirement from his job as control room manager a few years ago.

As well as his wife Elaine, he leaves two daughters, Eleri and Ffion, and three grandchildren, Amy, Katie and Austin.

He was elected to represent Ruabon in 2008, serving on the audit committee, environment and regeneration scrutiny committee and the finance and performance scrutiny committee.

He was also a member of Ruabon Community Council.

Paying tribute to Cllr Price, Plaid Cymru leader on Wrexham Council, Cllr Marc Jones, said: “Everybody in Plaid Cymru knew Barrie and will be stunned to hear of his sudden and untimely death.

“He was a vice-president of the party for many years and a long-standing activist.

“He was deputy leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Wrexham Council and a very able councillor for Ruabon.

“He was incredibly dedicated to his village, to his family and to the cause of Welsh freedom.

“Through thick and thin, Barrie was one of a small band of campaigners who finally got his reward in 2008 when he was elected as a county councillor.

“He had real passion and commitment to the cause, but he was also unfailingly polite and ready to see both sides of an argument.

“I can't remember a day when Barrie didn't have a smile on his face and that is how we should remember him.

“Our party, this council and Wales will miss him immensely.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to Elaine, his children and grandchildren, who meant the world to him."

Llyr Huws Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru AM for North Wales, said: “Barrie was always one of the first people you turned to in a campaign.

“He was thoroughly dependable, loyal and willing to walk through fire for Plaid Cymru and for Wales.

“He will be sorely missed by us all and my thoughts are with his family at this shocking loss.”

Leader of Wrexham Council, Cllr Ron Davies, said: “Barrie Price was a long-standing councillor, who gave outstanding service to the Ruabon ward - as well as the wider Wrexham community – for many years.

“He also served as co-chair of the finance and performance scrutiny committee, where he led meetings in a positive and effective manner.

“Cllr Price was employed as a control room manager with Dee Valley Water prior to his retirement and that his interests included golf, politics, religion and gardening.

“He was also a long serving Member of Ruabon Community Council and an elder at Hill Street Presbyterian Church in Rhos.

“We are all deeply shocked by his sudden death and I am sure the entire council will join me in paying tribute to Barrie and passing on our condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.”