AN instrumental member of Warrington and District Arts Council has died following a short illness.

Campaigner Michael Murphy was found 'lying peacefully in bed' on Wednesday.

Tributes have since been pouring in for the community champion following his death.

Cllr Tony Higgins, executive board member for leisure and community said: “It was with great sadness that I learned about the sudden death of Michael Murphy.

"Michael did so much to champion art and culture here in Warrington and it was a privilege to have been his friend in that quest, especially the multi-ethnic events we did together.

"Michael will not be forgotten, his legacy will be lasting."

Hasan Kazi, from Warrington Ethnic Communities Association, added: "Michael made a big contribution to the arts council and he worked very hard.

"He was involved lately in the commission of the Priestley statue.

"On Wednesday we were waiting for Michael to arrive at our latest meeting.

"We waited for around 15 minutes. Michael was very committed and very meticulous with meetings.

"Unfortunately we didn't know what had happened – it was a great shock and surprise.

"He was a very committed person and is a great loss to us and the town."

Funeral details will be confirmed in due course.