People across the region are still in shock following the sudden death of popular community champion Dave Butt last week

The family of David Butt has thanked the people of North Devon for the ‘overwhelming’ tributes following his death.

A hugely popular former councillor and teacher, Dave, who was known to countless people for his tireless community work, was found at his Pilton home on Thursday. He was 63.

It is thought he suffered a pulmonary embolism (blood clot) on his lungs and the case is being dealt with by the coroner.

He touched thousands of lives through his time as a player and supporter at Barnstaple Rugby Club, his work as a teacher at Braunton School and his years as a district councillor, as well as his never-ending community work.

On Saturday, players and fans at the Barnstaple RFC ground held a minute’s applause in his honour and the number 13 shirt he wore during his playing days was retired for the match.

Dave was also a leading organiser for the Pilton Festival and last year he was made an honorary alderman by North Devon Council for his services to the community.

Tributes were led this week by his children, Paul, Caroline and Amy, who said in a statement: “We are obviously shocked and devastated by the sad and sudden passing of our dad.

“He was taken far too soon, but left such a positive impact, not only with ourselves, but everyone he came into contact with.

“This is clear to see from the overwhelming response from the local community. We would like to thank everyone for their kind words and stories about Dad.

“We are so proud that he is our dad. He was selfless, generous and constantly putting others first. Dad approached life in a jovial way and was always either smiling or laughing. He always knew what to do and what to say. We love him so much and will miss him dearly.”

Details of Dave’s funeral are still being finalised.