Cameron 'devastated' at death of aide

David Cameron said that a "big rock in my life has suddenly been rolled away" after a senior Conservative was found dead at the Glastonbury Festival.



The body of Christopher Shale, the chairman of the West Oxfordshire Conservative Association, was discovered in a lavatory in the VIP section of Glastonbury at around 8.45am yesterday. It is believed he had suffered a heart attack.

A police spokesperson said last night that after initial inquiries and a post-mortem examination, they were not treating the death as suspicious, adding: "Further tests will be conducted to establish the exact cause of death."

The area in which the discovery was made was where musicians and other leading festival figures were staying in Winnebago-style camper vans. Mr Shale's family had been searching for him overnight after he had last been seen around Saturday lunchtime.

Last night Conservative sources said Mr Shale had received a call from a press officer on Saturday morning warning him that The Mail on Sunday was planning to publish an excoriating memo he had written about the internal state of the local Conservative Party.

The Shale family were in a separate camping area off the main site. A distraught woman was seen being comforted by officers in the backstage area between the Pyramid and Other stages yesterday morning, after it had been cordoned off by the police.

Rupert Soames, a friend attending Glastonbury with Mr Shale, said the family were "absolutely devastated and shell-shocked but are being very brave." He added: "He was not only a very good businessman, he was a terrific father and he contributed a lot to public life."

As well as being a prominent Conservative in the part of Oxfordshire that includes Mr Cameron's Witney constituency, Mr Shale was the long-serving chief executive of Oxford Resources Ltd, a firm that advised companies on ways to reduce their costs. A moderniser on the Tory right, he was a member of the business council of the European No Campaign, and a director of the Centre for Policy Studies.

Mr Cameron's office released a warm tribute yesterday which suggested that the Prime Minister may privately agree with a lot of what Mr Shale had written. He said: "Sam and I were devastated to hear the news about Christopher. 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.

"Our love and prayers are with Nikki [Mr Shale's wife] 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."

The festival's founder, Michael Eavis, later expressed his "deepest sympathy" for Mr Shale's family. He added: "We work very closely with the police, medical and other emergency services to ensure that the festival is as safe as possible for all 177,000 people on the site."



The memo by Shale that ended up in 'The Mail on Sunday'

Christopher Shale had bemoaned the state of the Conservative Party in a leaked memo published by 'The Mail on Sunday' yesterday, suggesting that there was "no reason to join" the Tories. The newspaper article carried details of a leaked strategy document written by Mr Shale warning that the continual fall in Conservative membership could be attributed to people's suspicions that if they get involved, "we'll beg and steal from them". He added: "And they're right."

The newspaper also quoted the document as saying: "Over the years, we have come across as graceless, voracious, crass, always on the take. When we are together, we are not always a group of people to whom many of our potential members are going to be magnetically drawn."

Mr Shale then offered a solution. He said: "We must look different – when we communicate, when we're together. We must sound different – in what we say, how we say it, the language we use, our tone of voice."



Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone