Tributes have continued to pour in for much-loved North Devon television personality Johnny Kingdom.
The 79-year-old wildlife presenter and film maker died following a digger accident on his land near Knowstone.
Richard Taylor-Jones, presenter on Countryfile, Springwatch and The One Show, paid tribute to the popular face.
He tweeted: “A magical friend has tragically died in an accident.
“Johnny Kingdom, we had so much fun together, you taught me so much about life. RIP.”
James Chapple, one half of Hopps and Chapple from The Voice FM, said Johnny was a ‘TV legend’ and said he was ‘absolutely gutted’.
“I remember meeting Johnny when I was about eight-years-old at an event at the North Devon Leisure Centre, and my dear Nanny Barb bought me a VHS wildlife video of his, which he signed,” he said.
“Always admired him and his work. In later life we were lucky enough to work with Johnny at various events, and interviews and he co-hosted the breakfast show one morning, which was a right giggle!
“Our condolences are with his wife Julie and his family at this difficult time.
“Rest in Peace Johnny - A Legend has been lost. x”
‘A true legend’
Former North Devon ITV broadcaster Seth Conway also posted a tribute to Johnny Kingdom on Facebook.
He wrote: “A true North Devon legend has been lost.
“Just heard the news that Johnny Kingdom has died after an accident on his land last night.
“I took this photo of him on Monday at South Molton where he was waiting for the Tour of Britain to come through. I was busy but now wish I’d stopped to talk. Just simply a great character.
“My thoughts are with his family.”
Huge zoo supporter
Exmoor Zoo owners Lynn and Danny Reynolds paid tribute to their ‘dear friend and supporter of the zoo’ on Facebook.
They said: “We cannot begin to know how Julie his wife or family are feeling at present and send our heart felt sympathies to them all.
“Johnny was a larger than life celebrity here at the zoo, over the summer months he did his Wildlife Wednesdays here where he gave a presentation, talk and slide show on his life and animals.
“He will leave a huge hole in everyone’s life he met and we know for a fact his memories will stay with us for a very long while.
“Thank you for everything you have done for the zoo and Exmoor and for supporting us all so well.”
Barnstaple Pannier Market also posted in tribute to Johnny, who used to sell his wildlife photographs there.
They said: “We are all very saddened to hear of the passing of our great friend Johnny Kingdom.
“Johnny was a true character and a great supporter of the market. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends, he will be sadly missed.”
Local PR businessman Ray Smith also paid tribute and said: “I worked with Johnny in 2015 on North Devon Relay for Life.
“At the time I was not fully confident as a PR. He took the time to take me aside and encourage me, via rather down-to-earth-language, to forget about the doubts and push forward.”
Ray said Johnny was an ‘inspiring example’ of the celebration of our natural environment, and added: “Farewell my friend. I know you’ll be out there in the long grass with your binocs.”
Tributes on Twitter
Many people have been reminscing on social media about chatting with Johnny while he sold his photographs in Barnstaple Pannier Market.
On Twitter, tributes have been flooding in from fans and friends of the countryman.
@SightseeingSuzi said: “RIP Johnny Kingdom, always have fond memories of your chats with my Dad in the pannier market. A trust patron of wildlife and Exmoor.”
On Facebook, Dennis Maggie Thomas said: “Such sad news, we met him a few times in Barnstaple Pannier Market and brought his book of him which he signed for us, such a funny man and he had some lovely stories to tell us.”
And Janet Wiggins wrote: “So sad a lovely man, always had a chat at the markets, my thoughts with his family.”
@MrSteveHarris tweeted: “Absolutely devastated at the terrible death last night of Exmoor legend #JohnnyKingdom . So very very awful.”
The Veterans Charity also tweeted: “RIP #JohnnyKingdom a very sad loss to North Devon, Exmoor and the entire animal kingdom. His enthusiasm and passion for wildlife and his home county was endless.”
Alan Fielding emailed us and said: “Johnny Kingdom. He did it his way and we were grateful for it. RIP Johnny, and thanks for everything.”
On Facebook Sian Beasant said: “What a truly inspirational man! No words can explain how much of a loss this is.
“I first met him at my primary school where he talked about his adventures. His photography is out of this world. He gave me a signed one for winning a competition. Forever In my heart!”
Diane Surmon added: “So very sad you will really be missed lovely man thanks for all your knowledge RIP thoughts and prayers to all family and friends.”
Nicola Sinclair said: “We will miss him buzzing around the area in his camouflaged 4x4.... a lovely man who will never be forgotten. Much love to Julie his wife and family at this sad time.”
And Gail Ridd Jones commented: “A local legend. He highlighted the beauty and wildlife of Exmoor in a way that people of all ages could all relate to. He will be missed, condolences to the family.”