TRIBUTE has been paid to a former Borders council officer who helped bring the Tour of Britain to the region for the first time.

Richard Sweetnam, who died on August 2 after a long battle with cancer, led the local authority’s economic development team from 2009 to 2015 before moving to Aberdeen City Council as its chief officer of city growth.

He was responsible for overseeing the ongoing Aberdeen city centre and beach masterplan projects.

But he also played a crucial role in bringing many popular sporting events to the city including the Great Aberdeen Run, Ovo Energy Tour Cycling Road Races and the Tour of Britain.

At a meeting of Scottish Borders Council, convener Watson McAteer, a Hawick councillor, looked back on Mr Sweetnam’s six-year career in the region.

Mr McAteer said: “During his service with the council, Richard had a significant impact on our region, bringing the Tour of Britain to the Scottish Borders for the first time and developing the Borders as Scotland’s leading cycling destination, a legacy we can see the impact of continuing with the recent UCI World Cycling Championships.

“Richard was also instrumental in delivering the Borders Railway Blueprint which unlocked £10 million of additional Scottish Government investment for the region.

“Originally from Ireland, he and his family made Selkirk their home and he was a junior coach at Selkirk Rugby Club.

“His passion and enthusiasm, friendship and dedication to public service will be greatly missed and I’d like to pass on our condolences to his wife Margaret and his sons Finlay, Alec and Archie.”