Tributes have been paid to a man described as “the backbone” of UKIP in Hartlepool.
Dave Pascoe, a long-standing member and campaigner for the party, died after recently being unwell and following a recent hospital stay.
He lived, breathed and ate UKIP and it rubbed off on youCouncillor John Tennant, UKIP Hartlepool chairman
He was aged 71.
Local party leaders said Dave was the backbone of UKIP Hartlepool having served as branch secretary as well as standing in a number of local elections, often achieving strong results.
He was part of the original Teesside Branch in 2000 before taking on the roles of secretary, press secretary and membership secretary of the current Hartlepool branch.
North East UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott said: “Dave was a hard worker, a long-term member and a committed Brexiteer!
“His passing is truly sad and I am sure there are many members and friends alike who will miss him, Rest in Peace.”
Dave came close to being elected to Hartlepool Borough Council in 2014 winning 688 votes and missing out by just 23 votes.
The party said his hard work and commitment contributed to the success of UKIP in recent years and June’s referendum victory.
Former Hartlepool UKIP Chairman, Eric Wilson expressed his shock at Dave’s passing saying: “Dave was a true UKIPPER, a solid party man and a close friend – he’ll be missed.”
Former UKIP Hartlepool and North East Chairman, Stephen Allison said: “Dave was instrumental in opening my eyes to the realities of the EU and after the referendum result I congratulated him as one of the people in Hartlepool who deserved credit for the overwhelming leave victory at the polls in the town.”
Dave, who lived in Owton Manor, was also a regular contributor to the Mail’s letters page and was proud of becoming a grandfather earlier this year.
UKIP Hartlepool chairman Councillor John Tennant said: “I first met Dave when I joined UKIP in 2008, he was always committed to the success of our party, he lived, breathed and ate UKIP and it rubbed off on you.
“It was a pleasure to receive his guidance since becoming Chairman of UKIP Hartlepool and he will not be forgotten, the sheer volume of responses expressing shock and sadness at his passing is the measure of just how many people held him in high regard.”
Coun Shane Moore said: “I had the pleasure of being able to get to know Dave well over the past year or so and it saddens me to know he lost this fight though I take solace in knowing he got to see the birth of his first grandchild, which I knew he was immensely proud of and the UK voting to leave the EU - something we all know he spent many years campaigning for.”
Coun Bob Buchan added: “I can’t thank Dave enough for the help, support and guidance he gave to me.”