Paul Bull, a long-standing activist for the Co-operative Party, has died aged 60.
He served the Party in various roles, sitting as South West delegate to its national executive committee since 2014. He also sat on Exeter City Council, where he was the lead for communities and culture.
He died from cancer on February 19, with his wife Rachel – also a councillor for Exeter – at his side.
In the last weeks of his life, he continued his duties as councillor, chairing of a meeting of the Exeter Board and taking to the pitch during an Exeter City FC match during a half-time ceremony to sign the council up to the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance.
Luke Pollard, who stood for the Party in the seat of Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said Paul was “a quiet but solid champion of the Labour and Co-operative causes … His death leaves us poorer as a region and as a movement.”
Writing on the Party’s website, he said: “News of his passing has hit us hard in the south west because Paul was one of those people you simply couldn’t imagine not being there.
“The ever-present smiling gent, encouraging and supportive, he will be remembered not just as a good, decent man, but as someone who campaigned for and represented his community and his beliefs with true humility and passion.”
He added: “The memories and tributes shared online since the news of his death both from friends in the Labour and co-operative movement and our political opponents speak to a man held in high regard by all those who met. A kind patient man, Paul was rarely rushed, taking time to speak to and understand all those around him.
“His participation in local groups, in co-operatives, the Exeter Pound local currency and community causes marked him out as one of the co-op movement’s heroes: quietly and passionately getting on with the task of making the world a better place one person at a time, giving everyone the time they deserved and each cause the attention it deserved.”
Cllr Pete Edwards, Labour leader on Exeter council, said: “Paul was Mr Community. He was an extraordinary person – his kindness was unlimited.
“He was knowledgeable and talented in so many areas of life, but his real passion was serving the community here in Exeter. Simply put – this city is a better place for everything he did.”
Ben Bradshaw MP said: “Paul was a wonderful man and a first rate councillor. We were out together in Exeter just last month, going door to door, talking to residents.
“He fought his cancer with great courage and we will all miss him very much.”