Charities have paid tribute to former National Lottery fund chair Peter Ainsworth, who has died at the age of 64.
Former Conservative MP Ainsworth was chair of the Big Lottery Fund (now National Lottery Community Fund) from 2011 to 2019.
His other roles have included a stint as shadow secretary of state for culture as well as for environment, food and rural affairs. He also chaired the boards of Plantlife International and the Elgar Foundation.
Among those to pay tribute are representatives of the Churches Conservation Trust, the charity he had chaired since 2016, and Heritage Alliance, which he was chair of until 2018.
We are very sad to have to announce the sudden passing of our Chair of Trustees, Peter Ainsworth who has been a passionate advocate for heritage - he will be greatly missed. https://t.co/8mfGXZ5bEK @Heritage_NGOs @PeterAiers pic.twitter.com/zLy3NtZDZE— The CCT (@TheCCT) April 7, 2021
“Peter has given over 30 years of commitment to public life and has made a significant contribution to the heritage sector,” said the Trust and Alliance in a joint statement.
“The Churches Conservation Trust is really grateful for Peter’s five years as chair, seeing the organisation through a change of chief executive, the implementation of a new strategy and the pandemic.
“At the Heritage Alliance, Peter chaired the organisation through the pandemic which has greatly affected many of our members, and we are grateful for the way in which he both supported the Alliance’s growth and tirelessly championed our 150+ organisations in a time of great need.
“Peter was passionate about effecting positive change and ensuring heritage is understood as a public good. Our thoughts are with Peter’s family at this time.”
Meanwhile, culture secretary Oliver Dowden added: “It is with deep sadness that I learned today of Peter's death.
“He was unfailingly kind, charming and a committed public servant, which he demonstrated most recently as a passionate Chair of the Churches Conservation Trust and the Heritage Alliance.
“We will miss him greatly, and my thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."