FORMER Liberal Democrat MP for Newbury David Rendel has died.
Mr Rendel, who represented the constituency from 1993 until 2005, passed away yesterday (Monday), aged 67. He had been ill with cancer for sometime.
He shot to prominence after winning the 1993 Newbury by-election, triggered by the death of sitting Tory Judith Chaplin, breaking almost 70 years of Conservative MPs representing the seat.
Hours atfer the news of his death broke the family told NewburyToday: "David was a loving husband to his wife Sue for over 40 years and a devoted father and grandfather.
"His death leaves a huge gap in our lives but his lifelong commitment to social justice will continue to inspire us all in the future."
Speaking after his by-election victory Mr Rendel described the moment as the “the most sensational of them all” and “a thrilling victory”.
Among many other issues, Mr Rendel is remembered for his association with successful campaigns for the West Berkshire Community Hospital and a cinema in Newbury.
His support for the Newbury bypass brought him into conflict with environmental protesters, while his vote to ban hunting led to a call for his resignation among West Berkshire hunstmen.
Mr Rendel was also a Newbury district councillor and represented Thatcham north and central wards on West Berkshire Council until 2015.
Mr Rendel was born in Athens in 1949 and was educated at Horris Hill in Newtown and at Eton College; before spending 14 months as a volunteer teacher in Cameroon and Uganda.
He then studied at Oxford, gaining a degree in physics and philosophy and earned an Oxford blue as a member of the record breaking boat race crew of 1974.
It was also at Oxford that he met his future wife Sue, who became a GP at St John’s surgery in Newbury.
The couple have three sons Mark, John and Andrew, all of whom were educated at Newbury schools, and two grandchildren.
Chair of Newbury and West Berkshire Liberal Democrats, Dr Sue Farrant, said: "This is a very, very sad day and a tremendous loss to his family and his many friends inside and outside politics.
"David will be remembered for his unswerving commitment to Liberal values and for his kindness and unfailing courtesy to political allies and opponents alike. He was a man of principle and I was proud to have him as my friend and political mentor".
See this week's Newbury Weekly News for full reaction and tributes.