TRIBUTES are being paid to "a giant of the Valleys", Allan Pritchard, and former Plaid Cymru leader at Caerphilly council, who has died of cancer.
Mr Pritchard, who lived in Oakdale, leaves behind his wife Pauline and two daughters, Kailey and Rhayna, as well as three grandchildren. He was 71.
Lindsay Whittle, South Wales East AM, said: "Allan served two terms as my deputy when I was leader of Caerphilly council and took over as leader after I was elected to the National Assembly.
"Allan was a giant of the Valleys, a larger than life character who was always committed to doing his best for his community and those across the county borough.
"Alan was a musician, a poet, a first class rugby player, a family man and a Welsh nationalist. He was the epitome of a Welshman. I will miss my close friend dearly. His life has been cut short far too early."
Fellow South Wales East AM Jocelyn Davies, who served with Allan Pritchard on the former Islwyn council, said: "Allan’s passion for his home village of Oakdale – which he always referred to as the city on the hill – as well as the community and his country never waned one jot in all that time.
"Allan devoted his life to public service with the support and understanding of his wonderful family. He was a politician of commitment who always stood up to challenges and never shied away from difficult decisions. His retirement was well earned, but sadly all too brief."
Colin Mann, current leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly council, said: "Allan was truly a giant of a man, not only in his stature but also in his personality and his beliefs.
"He served his party and his country with honour for many decades.
"Allan battled bravely against cancer and my thoughts at this difficult time are with Pauline, his daughters and the family."
Leanne Wood, Leader of Plaid Cymru, said: "Allan was an amazing man who gave so much to the Welsh national cause.
"His dedication, belief and ability to inspire and enthuse others was incomparable while his humour and love of life was infectious. He was always personally supportive to me. My thoughts are with his family."
Mr Pritchard lost his seat on Caerphilly council in the 2012 elections, along with many of his colleagues, as Labour regained power of the local authority in a landslide win.