Cameron's constituency chairman dies at Glastonbury

Christopher Shale. Copyright: Steve McCauley.
Image caption Mr Cameron said he had lost a "close and valued friend" in Mr Shale

A senior member of David Cameron's Tory constituency association has been found dead in a Glastonbury Festival toilet.

The body of Christopher Shale, chairman of West Oxfordshire Conservative Association, was found at about 0900 BST at the music event in Somerset.

Police are investigating the cause of the 56-year-old's death, which the PM said had left him "devastated".

But following a post-mortem examination, officers said they are not treating the death as suspicious.

Mr Cameron said he had lost "a close and valued friend - a big rock in my life has suddenly been rolled away".

Mr Shale, who worked in public relations, management consultancy and marketing, was married with three grown-up children.

'Big, wonderful man'

The prime minister, who has been MP for Witney in Oxfordshire for 10 years, said Mr Shale had been "a huge support over the last decade".

"Christopher was one of the most truly generous people I've ever met - he was always giving to others, his time, his help, his enthusiasm and above all his love of life.

"It was in that spirit that he made a massive contribution to the Conservative Party, both locally and nationally.

Image caption Police are trying to establish the cause of death

"Our love and prayers are with Nikki and the family. They've lost an amazing dad, west Oxfordshire has lost a big and wonderful man and like so many others, Sam and I have lost a close and valued friend."

Barry Norton of the West Oxfordshire Conservative Association said the news of Mr Shale's death had been a "terrible shock to everybody who knew Christopher".

Inspector Chris Morgan, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: "A male was found down by the press office in the toilet area.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time. We are continuing with our enquiries to find out how Christopher died and are providing support to the family through a dedicated family liaison officer."

Later, Mr Shale's body was taken to a local mortuary in a white private ambulance where a post-mortem examination was carried out.

Avon and Somerset Police said further tests are to be conducted to establish the exact cause of death.

A spokesman said: "The results of the post-mortem, combined with the inquiries conducted into the circumstances surrounding the death indicate it is not suspicious."

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Media captionWest Oxfordshire Conservative Party agent Barry Norton said Mr Shale has been a 'tireless worker'

In a statement, festival founder Michael Eavis said: "I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the man whose body was found on the site early on Sunday morning."

The Duchess of York, who appears to have known Mr Shale, tweeted: "Christopher Shale, the kindest, most special gentle loyal rock of a friend, we will all miss you desperately."

Andrew Feldman, co-chairman of the Conservative Party, said Mr Shale was a "thoroughly decent, able and kind hearted person".

"He has been tireless and effective in helping to secure the continued development and success of the Witney Conservative Association, which is one of the largest and best run in the country."

Police cordoned off the hospitality area, putting up tape around the backstage shower and toilet area, and a camping area where production teams and some performers stay was also blocked off.

The area is usually off-limits to most festival-goers, with gates manned by security staff enforcing a strict no-pass, no-entry rule.

Mr Shale features in an article in the Mail on Sunday, which portrayed him as being critical of his Conservative association.

In what the newspaper calls a strategy document looking at how to increase association membership - which Mr Cameron is said to be aware of - Mr Shale says that at present there was "no reason to join - lots of reasons not to".

In the document, he presented a scathing assessment of the social skills and fundraising efforts of his association.

More than 137,000 people are thought to be attending the festival at Worthy Farm in Pilton, which ends on Sunday.

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