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'Outstanding' councillor loses battle with cancer

By West Briton  |  Posted: September 13, 2012

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TRIBUTES from family, friends and colleagues have poured in for a councillor who lost his battle with cancer.

Cornwall councillor for Gwinear-Gwithian and St Erth, Ray Tovey, died at St Julia's Hospice in Hayle on Saturday morning, nine months after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The 65-year-old, who had to stand down from his position as Cabinet member for localism and devolution earlier this year, was elected to the council in 2009.

He had been the longest-standing chairman of Gwinear-Gwithian Parish Council, a Penwith District Council member and served on Newlyn Harbour Commission.

His daughter, Hannah Eustice, said: "He was just so brave about the whole thing. I don't think he complained once. Up until the last two weeks or so he was out every day in his wheelchair for a walk with mum. He just kept going, he wanted to see us all and he realised the importance of it all."

Mr Tovey is survived by his wife, Jenny; daughters, Hannah and Rachel Murray; and grandchildren, Jake, Alfie, Flora and Scarlett.

He was born in London and grew up in Somerset where his family were coal merchants.

He met his wife at art college in Taunton and they moved to Cornwall in their twenties after Mr Tovey got a job at Camborne School of Art as a lecturer in graphic design. He became head of foundation studies after the college became Falmouth School of Art and worked as an exam moderator.

He enjoyed water sports and was a keen motorbiker.

Mrs Eustice said: "He was one of the first surfers at Godrevy. That was a massive part of his life always on the water, surfing, canoeing with friends and he had a surf ski."

St Erth parish clerk, Peter Rylett, said: "I shall really miss working with him, miss his intellect and great sense of humour and feel great sadness over the loss of a good friend."

Cornwall councillor for Hayle South, John Coombe, said: "Councillor Tovey was a good friend and certainly an outstanding councillor and will be greatly missed.

"He was a great man – a worker for the people and he really did care about the individual voters."

Ted Taylor, chairman of St Erth Parish Council, added: "Ray worked hard and stood up for the community and always made the time to help us and many others, no matter what the issue was."

Mr Tovey's funeral will be held at Gwinear Church on Tuesday at 11am. All are welcome although no formal mourning attire is requested. Donations to Cornwall Hospice Care – St Julia's Hospice.

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