Partner of Tory councillor Martin Davies pays tribute after shock death
FRIENDS and colleagues have paid tribute to Cllr Martin Davies, the leader of Camden Conservatives, who died suddenly on Friday (June 9). Cllr Davies, 45, was found collapsed at his Hampstead home shortly after 1pm when colleagues had been unable to conta
FRIENDS and colleagues have paid tribute to Cllr Martin Davies, the leader of Camden Conservatives, who died suddenly on Friday (June 9).
Cllr Davies, 45, was found collapsed at his Hampstead home shortly after 1pm when colleagues had been unable to contact him by phone.
The cause of his death has not yet been established, and an inquest is due to be held at St Pancras Coroners Court later this year following an autopsy.
His partner of 11 years, Richard Boaste, said: "I left home at 9am and we know he was fine at 10.20am because he sent an email to one of his colleagues. He had been complaining of feeling a bit fluey but nothing major. A colleague tried to contact him around 1pm and he didn't answer any of his phones."
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He paid tribute to him as a man of integrity with friends on all sides of the council chamber and a huge ability to listen to other people.
He said: "What never ceased to amaze me was that the number of people who would stop and say hello to Martin. He was an incredible listener and had an incredible memory for names and faces. He loved Camden and knew it like the back of his hand.
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"He was very much a libertarian. That's why he crossed boundaries as far as political parties were concerned. He was a Conservative but he believed that if something was right it was right. If he believed in something he would support it wholeheartedly. He toed the party line where applicable but he wasn't scared to turn round and say, 'That's wrong'.
"But there was also a very mischievous side to him, which people never saw. I'm going to miss him dreadfully. We lost our Labrador Benson in April and now I've lost my two best friends."
Cllr Davies, who lived in Ornan Road, had been a councillor for the Frognal and Fitzjohn's ward since 1998 and before this year's elections had been Camden's head of adult social care and health, presiding over the Homes for Older People programme and calling on his expertise gained in his career as head of Westminster Age Concern.
He was looking forward to leading his party in opposition at the council and his colleagues have expressed their absolute shock at his untimely death.
His fellow ward councillor Andrew Mennear said: "It's a huge, huge shock. It's just bizarre. He was looking forward to being leader very, very much. On Wednesday last week he had flu and asked if I would cover for him.
"He was really a decent, genuine guy. We worked very closely together in the ward since we were campaigning ahead of winning in 1998. I can't remember a cross word that the two of us had with each other.
"No one had a bad word to say about him. I've had so many residents calling me to say how stunned they are. It's such a shame and such a shock. We did really work as a team and he's going to be very difficult to replace. My heart goes out to Richard, his sister and his father."
Cllr Davies was born in Reading, and grew up in Welwyn Garden City. He qualified as an accountant and moved to Stevenage which was where he started to become involved in politics. He moved to east London before finally settling in Hampstead about 13 years ago.
After qualifying he built a career as an accountant, becoming finance director with the advertising group McCann Erickson before changing career paths and taking over as head of Age Concern in Westminster, which he ran for six years before standing down in December last year.
Gary Jones, head of Age Concern Camden, said: "Colleagues in Age Concern all across London have been shocked by the sudden death of a respected and supportive colleague at such a young age."
A by-election for Frognal and Fitzjohn's ward will be held to elect a new councillor and a date will be agreed in due course.
Mr Davies is survived by his partner Mr Boaste, his sister Carol and his father Neville.
*A funeral service for family and close friends will take place at Golders Green Crematorium on July 2 and a public memorial service for Mr Davies is currently being arranged.