The mayor of Cambridge has died while on a scuba diving holiday with his wife in South Africa.

Councillor Nigel Gawthrope, who was eight months into his term of office, died on Friday during a visit to Durban.

The 61-year-old died after scuba diving but the exact cause of his death has not been confirmed.

Mr Gawthrope, who has been described as a prolific charity fundraiser, had been a city councillor for seven years after he was elected to represent King’s Hedges ward in 2012.

Councillors unanimously elected him as mayor of Cambridge in May 2018.

The 61-year-old had been diving in Durban
The 61-year-old had been diving in Durban

Councillor Lewis Herbert, leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “Losing Nigel is a massive shock and hurts us all at the city council, particularly his closest colleagues, and that is nothing compared to the devastation that his close and loving family are feeling right now.

“I have talked today to Jenny, his wife and our mayoress, and passed on our condolences and deepest sympathies, and we are so glad that Nigel’s brother is flying out Monday to support her when she most needs it.

“Nigel represented King’s Hedges and the council with distinction and we will miss him terribly.

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“He revelled in his most recent role of mayor and first citizen.

“He made time for everyone, doing exactly what he excelled earlier at locally, connecting as mayor with all the hundreds of people he met across our city, and particularly with volunteers and staff and people benefiting from the many organisations we work with to help those most in need across Cambridge.”