A North Devon farming legend and former councillor has died aged 95.

Aldermen Albert Cook (right) and Harold Hopkins receiving their certificates from North Devon Council chairman Sue Haywood in 2012. Picture: Andy KeebleAldermen Albert Cook (right) and Harold Hopkins receiving their certificates from North Devon Council chairman Sue Haywood in 2012. Picture: Andy Keeble

Albert Cook from Filleigh passed away on January 7, 2020 and his funeral will be at the Church of St Paul, Filleigh, on Friday, January 24 at 12noon. Donations to Devon Air Ambulance and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Mr Cook was a sheep farmer for most of his life, a respected livestock show judge, sheep breeder and he was president of Devon County Show in 2010.

He was also the great uncle of former England cricket star and batsman Sir Alastair Cook.

Mr Cook is survived by his partner Lorna and children, Margaret and John and grandchildren Claire, Ann, Matthew, Melanie and Stephen and 10 great grandchildren.

He served for decades on local parish, district and county councils. He was first elected as a councillor to North Devon District Council in 1973 and stood down in 2011.

He served on South Molton Rural Council from 1960 until local government reorganisation in 1974.

He held many roles during his time as a councillor, including district council chairman and vice chairman.

Mr Cook also served for many decades as a parish councillor on Chittlehampton Parish Council.

In 2012 North Devon Council appointed him as an honorary alderman for his services.

North Devon Council leader, Cllr David Worden, said: "Alderman Albert Cook will be sadly missed, for he was a glowing example for us all.

"His tireless service in local government over such a long time has made him a legend. Councillors listened when Albert spoke as he had the respect of all, irrespective of political party, as his motive was always to do the very best for everyone.

"Albert made a difference and the well being of so many in North Devon was enhanced because of him."

For many in North Devon, it will be Mr Cook's farming legacy they remember. He was a member of the Devon County Agricultural Association council from 1948 and a hugely respected breeder.

He competed in livestock classes with his Devon closewool sheep since 1952, winning no fewer than 16 breed championships and four inter-breed championships, before retiring from the show ring in 2009.

In his younger days he was known as one of the best sheep shearers in the country. He and his late wife Ruth worked together preparing sheep for the show ring.