TRIBUTES are flowing for Corangamite Shire Councillor and former policeman Wayne Oakes, who passed away on Thursday as a result of lingering health issues.
The beloved Camperdown community man moved to the south-west town from Hoppers Crossing with his family in 1986 and never left.
A policeman for 35 years, he worked at every station from Colac to Warrnambool, except Port Campbell and Timboon, and retired in 2012.
He served as councillor from 2012 to 2016 and returned to office following the resignation of Bev McArthur in December 2018.
He was a member of the lions club for 20 years, including stints as district governor, national membership chairman (including New Caledonia, PNG and Norfolk Island) and district membership chairman and secretary.
He was also chairman of the Camperdown Uniting Church Council and worked part time at MacQueen's Funerals. He was also involved with the Victorian Council of Churches as a carer and chaplain.
Cr Oakes is survived by his wife Judi, daughter Caitlyn Fitzgerald, her husband Tim, and three beloved grandchildren: Herbie, Marlee, and Bronte. His much loved daughter Erin passed away early in his first term as a councillor.
Mayor Neil Trotter said he and his fellow councillors felt a great sense of loss.
"Our thoughts are with Judi and the family," he said. "Wayne and I were elected at the same time. We came to council together. Over that time, we developed a friendship.
"He was a conscientious councillor and his experience as a sergeant of police at Camperdown and throughout the western district was a valuable asset for him as a councillor. He was level-headed and pragmatic and had great empathy for younger members of the community and those who were socially disadvantaged.
"Wayne was heavily involved in the community and made a large contribution."
The Lions District 201V2 paid tribute to Mr Oakes: "There are many heavy, and broken hearts across our district this morning, with the passing of one of our dearly loved and well respected Lions, PDG Wayne Oakes.
"Please keep Lion Judi and her family in your thoughts and prayers as they struggle to process this tragic and sudden loss.
"Our most heartfelt and sincere condolences are with Lion Judi, her family and friends, and also the members of the Lions Club of Camperdown.
"Vale PDG Wayne Oakes. You served us well and were a true testament to Lionism in every way."
Council chief executive officer Andrew Mason paid tribute to Mr Oakes on behalf of shire staff.
"Wayne was a terrific bloke - kind-hearted and loved a chat," he said.
"He had a great love for his family and showed a tremendous amount of energy in his work across the Church, Lions and other community groups.
"He believed in helping people and that even small achievements could make a significant improvement in someone's life.
"He prided himself on being 'straight up' with people and was a dedicated representative who will be missed."
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.