TRIBUTES have been paid to a councillor who served Hampshire for 16 years.

Former Hampshire County Councillor Philip Merridale CBE, who represented the Baddesley Division of Hampshire County Council between 1973 and 1989, has passed away.

On retirement he was appointed an Hon Alderman of the County and awarded the CBE for his services in particular to Education.

He served as Chairman of the Hampshire Education Committee and at a time when comprehensive education was being introduced he was influential in moving Hampshire towards the model of sixth form colleges.

As well as being involved in local government, Philip was an antiques dealer with a shop in Stockbridge handling antique furniture.

In latter years he has lived in retirement in Bristol with his wife Anne.

Roy Perry, county councillor for the Romsey Rural Division, described Philip as the "strength and reputation of Hampshire" and added that he "helped guide the county" during the 70s and 80s.

He said: "I also acknowledge the encouragement he gave me in the early days of my own local government service when I was first elected to Test Valley BC.

"In particular his commitment to 6th Form Colleges has given education in Hampshire the quality and national reputation it has.

"Philip recognised that age 11 was too young to select children by academic ability by an 11plus exam but at 16 those who want to go on to pursue academic A Levels can do so based on O level or GCSE results by choosing the sixth Form Colleges of which Hampshire is so proud.

"Colleges like Peter Symonds and Barton Peveril that serve this part of Hampshire send more students to Oxbridge colleges than almost any other state schools.

"We should not forget the part Philip Merridale had in setting them off on their successful paths and the young people who were fortunate to benefit from their sixth Form College education."