Cameron 'devastated' by death of Christopher Shale

Prime Minister David Cameron said today he was "devastated" to hear of the death of his constituency chairman at Glastonbury Festival.

Christopher Shale, chairman of West Oxfordshire Conservative Association, was found this morning in a portable toilet in a backstage VIP area.

In a statement, Mr Cameron said Mr Shale was a "close and valued friend" and a "big rock" in his life.

Mr Shale, a father who was in his 50s, was believed to have been staying in a Winnebago at the festival. Police are investigating the cause of death.

Mr Cameron, the MP for Witney, said he and wife Samantha were great friends of Mr Shale's, a successful businessman.

"Sam and I were devastated to hear the news about Christopher," the Prime Minister said.

"He was a great friend and has been a huge support over the last decade in west Oxfordshire. A big rock in my life has suddenly been rolled away.

"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.

"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."

"It's very very sad - I can't say too much about it."

Mr Shale, who was quoted in a Mail on Sunday article today on the difficulties his party faces in recruiting new members, was discovered by officers shortly after 9am.

A distraught woman, staying in the backstage area between the Pyramid and other stages, was seen being comforted by officers this morning. Police confirmed several relatives were at the site.

Inspector Chris Morgan said inquiries into the death were continuing.

He added: "It is only a couple of hours ago - we are still working on establishing a cause of death."

A police cordon, patrolled by dozens of officers and security guards, was put up around the backstage shower and toilet area.

The camping area where festival production teams and some performers stay was also blocked off.

A host of celebrities were staying in the cordoned-off area. Wayne and Coleen Rooney were understood to have been camping in a nearby luxury RV.

Revellers reacted with shock as they were told the area was "a crime scene".

Tom Waite, 35, from Cheddar, was among those staying in the VIP area. He said: "It's just awful for his family."

Mr Shale was believed to have been staying near The Times columnist Caitlin Moran.

The writer tweeted: "Woke up to find the man in the Winnebago next to us died. Bit of a grime start to the morning."

The death comes after Mr Shale was quoted in a Conservative strategy document leaked to the Sunday tabloid.

Referring to Tory party membership, he was quoted as saying: "No reason to join. Lots of reasons not to."

Mr Shale was the chief executive of Oxford Resources Ltd, a cost reduction company based in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.

He was previously chief executive of SGL Communications. He is listed on the website of europsceptic thinktank OpenEurope as a supporter and was a director of the Centre for Policy Studies.