Tributes have been paid to William Bacon, deputy mayor of Allerdale, who has died at the age of 80. 

As well as performing his official and council duties, Councillor Bacon, known as Bill, helped to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity over the years. 

He also served as mayor of the borough and Workington town and was chairman of the Friends of Siddick Ponds. 

His wife Valerie said: "He was a loving caring man who always put others before himself. He was always there for everybody." 

Coun Bacon was born and grew up in Camerton. 

After leaving school he worked at Clifton and Solway collieries before joining the fire service where he stayed for over 30 years. 

After retiring he joined the Probation Service, before becoming an usher at Workington Magistrates Court. 

He was first elected to Allerdale council in 2007, representing Moss Bay ward as a Labour councillor. 

He was mayor in 2013/14, when he joined the celebrations for the Rugby League World Cup on its visit to Workington, and established a parade to mark 100 years of the start of World War One. 

As mayor, he also played host to Prince Charles and the Duke of Gloucester when they visited the area. 

In previous years he met the Queen during her visit to the Cumberland pencil factory in Lillyhall and he and Mrs Bacon were invited to two garden parties at Buckingham Palace. 

Len Davies, Allerdale mayor, said: "I'm deeply saddened at the loss of my good friend and colleague. Bill was a true servant to the community, who felt immensely proud and privileged to be mayor and deputy mayor – and he served with true dedication. 

"The nature reserve will be a wonderful legacy of all his hard work.

"A modest man – I only found out by chance that he had a bravery award from his time in the fire service - he had a wicked sense of humour and could brighten any room. I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to work so close with him and my thoughts are with his family." 

Coun Bacon loved the outdoors, going fell walking when he had the time, and working to protect wildlife. 

As chairman of the Friends of Siddick Ponds, he had tremendous passion for the site and its wildlife. 

At his suggestion, the council and the friends recently collaborated to submit an application to Cumbria Community Foundation for a £15,000 grant from the Robin Rigg Community Fund. 

In January, to Coun Bacon's delight, the bid got the go-ahead.

This will mean improvements to the conservation interest of the site and visitor facilities, including a new exhibition about the reserve in the bird hide, and new seats at viewing points overlooking the pond. 

His time in office raised money for charities including Aspatria Dreamscheme, Cockermouth Swimming Club, Allerdale Citizens Advice Bureau, Rape Crisis West Cumbria, Wigton Rugby Union FC and First Responders in Workington and Silloth. 

Coun Bacon was also deputy mayor for three years. 

He raised money to save the local talking newspaper, raised £10,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital and he campaigned to get money for radios when the emergency doctors service was first set up. 

His son Wayne said: "He organised more charity events than anyone could ever remember. 

"People don't realise just how much he did for Workington." 

He also helped to organise the tallest bonfire in the world for Children in Need in 1993, which made it into the Guinness Book of Records. 

He loved organ music and brought some world class players to perform in Workington. 

Coun Bacon also served as vice-chairman on Allerdale's licensing committee, sat on the Harrington Harbour and Dock Board, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty joint advisory committee, and on its development panel. 

He also served on Workington Town Council for 21 years. 

Alan Smith, Allerdale council leader, said: "Bill was a fine ambassador for the borough as mayor and deputy mayor. 

"He worked extremely hard as a ward councillor, at council duties, as well as on the issues which meant so much to him – like the nature reserve.

He will be greatly missed by his family and friends, the Labour group and his constituents."

Mr Bacon is survived by Mrs Bacon, children Lynsey and Wayne and grandchildren Liam, Hollie and Zach.