LOVING tributes have been paid to the chairman of one of Devon's biggest summer festivals after he lost his battle with cancer.
Dawlish Carnival Committee chairman Brian Heath, of Upper Longlands, died in Dawlish Hospital on Sunday aged 68.
Affectionately known as 'grandad' to carnival royalty, Mr Heath played a key role in putting on the carnival's air show which draws thousands of visitors to the seaside town.
In February he revealed he was suffering from cancer.
He is survived by his wife Jean, 72, and their daughter Denise Griffin, 46 and their son Chris, 38.
Mrs Griffin described her father as 'a fun-loving, happy and smiley man' adding: "I was very proud of him.
"He was a big family man and I learnt a lot from him."
The family have been touched by the overwhelming support since his death she said, adding: "We want anyone who knew him to come to his funeral and celebrate his life."
Her 13-year-old daughter Kayley added: "He was a really cool granddad. Whenever carnival week was on, he loved taking us down to it because he thought it was so special."
Mr Heath joined the carnival committee 17 years ago after moving to the area.
He has served as chairman for the last 13 years, contributing to all areas of the carnival.
He was instrumental in making the air show the success it is today.
Carnival committee vice-chairman Warren Drew said: "We have lost a valued colleague but, even more so, we have lost a trusted and dear friend.
"Our prayers and thoughts are with Brian's family at this difficult time.
"While this has had a profound affect on the committee members who have worked with him over the years he has been a member, we are continuing our plans to put on another superb event this year.
"The energy and enjoyment he got from being part of the carnival is, as ever, on offer to anybody inspired to become involved by Mr Heath's achievements throughout his life."
Former town mayor councillor Wally Protheroe said: "His death is a great loss to the town. He worked so hard for Dawlish and ensured the air show was known all over the world."
The funeral takes place on Thursday, June 25, at St Gregory's Church, Church Street, Dawlish, at 11am.
It will be followed by a committal at Exeter Crematorium and a celebration of his life at Smuggler's Inn, Teignmouth Road, Dawlish.