Tributes have been paid to a plucky war hero who captured the hearts of the nation last summer with a secret dash to Normandy.

Former Second World War submariner, mayor and long-serving Hove councillor Bernard Jordan has died at the age of 90.

The charismatic pensioner, who became a national news sensation last June after sparking a missing persons search when leaving his care home for France unannounced, passed away in a local hospital over the festive period.

Mayor Brian Fitch led the tributes to Mr Jordan and has proposed a minute’s silence for the war hero to be held prior to a full council meeting later this month.

The 90-year-old became front page news both in England and further afield after leaving the Pines nursing home in Furze Hill, Hove, to be part of D-Day celebrations in June before returning to be with his wife Irene.

On his birthday days after his exploits, he received more than 3,000 cards from well-wishers inspired by his pluck and cheek.

He was made an honorary alderman of the city in July in recognition of his service as a Hove borough councillor for 23 years as well as serving as mayor in 1995 to 1996.

Councillor Fitch said he fondly remembered sharing a D-Day anniversary cider with Bernie after inviting him to the mayor’s parlour and the number of residents who wanted to shake his hand after reading about his adventure in The Argus.

He said: “It is a shock because while he was old, he was still in relatively good health.

“He has a great record of public service as a councillor, former mayor and alderman in the city which he loved.

“He certainly grabbed the headlines last year when he made that dash to Normandy to celebrate D-Day and I don’t know anyone who received as many birthday cards as he did for his 90th birthday.

“He made a major contribution to the city but he was also just an ordinary hard-working bloke, an electrician by trade, and a lovely character.

“We will really miss him.”

Councillor Warren Morgan, leader of the Labour and Co-operative Group, said: “Bernie served his country during war and his home town during peacetime, and last year he brought a smile to the nation's faces with his trip to Normandy.

“He will be sadly missed but fondly remembered."

Amanda Scott, Gracewell Healthcare managing director, said that Bernie would be much missed by his beloved wife and all his friends at The Pines Care Home.

She added: “Bernie caught the world’s imagination last year when he made his ‘surprise’ trip to France and bought a huge amount of joy to a lot of people.

“He will be much missed by everyone here and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife.

“Bernie was always insistent that what he did during the war was nothing unusual, and only what many thousands of others did for their country.

“That may well be true, but the little bit of excitement he gave everyone last June was typical of his no nonsense attitude to life and is how he will be remembered by thousands of people.”