COMMUNITY leaders have paid tribute to the man affectionately known as "Stormin Norman" – Newquay's first mayor – whose tireless campaigning earned his fellow townsfolk a local voice for the first time nearly three decades ago.
It is thanks to Norman Thompson's persistence and care for his community that Newquay has a town council at all, having campaigned rigorously to instate a local authority at the resort.
Independent councillor Mr Thompson, who served on the authority for 26 years, has been described as one of the resort's most important political figures in recent history.
The 87-year-old's achievements during that time have been highly praised by his fellow councillors, including his success in setting up the town's twinning with Dinard in France.
This week community leaders have paid tribute to Mr Thompson, who died peacefully in his sleep on October 6.
Geoff Brown, Cornwall councillor for Newquay central ward, said: "I have known Norman and Thelma for many years, having attended school with their children, Deborah and Hugh. When I first ventured into politics and was elected to Newquay Town Council in the Nineties, Norman was immensely helpful, as he was to all new members, in giving advice and encouragement to me as a fresh-faced, young councillor.
"Always outspoken, Norman did not suffer fools gladly, and would never shy away from a challenge often ruffling a few political feathers in the process, something which was to earn him the affectionate nickname of 'Stormin' Norman'."
Dave Sleeman, Newquay town councillor and Cornwall councillor for Newquay Treloggan ward, said: "Norman will be greatly missed ... he was a voice of the people and was respected by all those who he represented.
"We all owe it to Norman to say a big thank you for your untiring efforts in making Newquay a better place in which we live and may you rest in peace after a job well done."
Joanna Kenny, Newquay town councillor and Cornwall councillor for Newquay Pentire ward, said: "Norman was one of the great characters of the council.
"Norman was a real campaigner, always prepared to fight for what he thought was right and was never prepared to accept a compromise.
"And more often than not, he won."
John Coltman, Newquay town councillor and chairman of Newquay Town Residents' Association, said: "Norman opened up debate immaterial of how controversial the subject may be. Not the kind of community leader who put his head in the sand when there was a problem to be tackled and solved. Norman believed in true democracy and opened up debate to support the community.
"A person to be trusted. God bless."
Pat Lambshead, Cornwall councillor for Newquay Tretherras ward, said: "My deepest condolences to Thelma and her family for their great loss. I did not know Norman for as long as some but served on both Restomel and Newquay councils with him and got to know him rather well. In the early days we crossed swords on several occasions and one had to be up to the mark to match him.
"He always knew his subject and articulated it well. One of his passions was Trenance Gardens and in that I joined him on several occasions and achieved success.
"He was a rare man, with courage and convictions who stood for good, old-fashioned values.
"Last Sunday, as I walked past the Lakeside Café, I glanced at the table that he used – he was not there. I shall miss him – Newquay will miss him. Rest well Norman."
Sandy Carter, Newquay Mayor, said: "His heart was always in the right place. He always did it for the good of the town – there was no other motive."
Andy Curtis, town clerk of Newquay, said: "Mr Thompson will be missed by the office staff and is to this day, recognised and respected for all his hard work and unwielding efforts to keep Newquay's interests at the forefront of everyone's minds."