MEP 'one of the nicest men you could meet'
The former Westcountry politician, Graham Booth, has died.
Mr Booth, who lived in Paignton, died aged 71 on Wednesday after a short illness. He was a former MEP for the region, representing UKIP.
In a statement, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: "I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of one of UKIP's greatest ever servants – former MEP Graham Booth.
"Graham served for seven years in the European Parliament and was a tireless party worker throughout the mid-90s where he brought the qualities of honesty, loyalty, hard work and a tremendous sense of humour.
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"I will miss him and even his Jethro jokes.
"On behalf of UKIP, I offer my deepest condolences to his wife Pam, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren."
Mr Booth, who represented the party in Europe between 2002 and 2008, was also widely credited with saving the Isles of Scilly shuttle helicopter service from being scrapped in the early part of the last decade.
He gave himself a present of an Aston Martin on leaving the Parliament, and reached speeds of 200mph at the age of 68 on an airfield drive.
Tributes last night flooded in for the politician, described by one colleague as "one of the nicest men you could meet", as news of his death spread.
Trevor Colman, who took over Mr Booth's seat for the UK Independence Party, said that he had lost a loyal and generous friend of many years.
"Graham was far more than a politician," said Mr Colman.
"He was successful businessman, a devoted family man and published books of comic verse which were the fount of his incredible sense of humour.
"He fought to establish the party not just in his beloved South West but throughout the country. It is fair to say that without his intervention in the European Parliament that the Scilly Isles helicopter shuttle service would not be active today."
Another South West MEP, Lord William Dartmouth, added: "Graham was a truly distinguished man quite apart from his political life.
"His goodness, kindness and selflessness shone through all he did. Anybody who knew him will only remember the laughter and good humour that followed in his wake.
"Devon has lost a great voice and a fine man.
"My deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and to Devon itself which has lost a great advocate."