Tributes have poured in for farmer and politician Jack Ainslie who died at his Mildenhall home on Friday.

Mr Ainslie, 85, had been in indifferent health for two or three years but will be remembered as a great Wiltshireman who gained the respect of all parties.

The funeral is at Mildenhall church next Thursday at 2pm.

He contested the Devizes Constituency twice, in 1974 and 1979, for the Devizes Constituency Liberal Association he had revived in the early 1960s.

Mr Ainslie overhauled Labour to take second place in both elections to sitting Conservative MP, the late Charles Morrison.

At Wiltshire County Council, on which Mr Ainslie served for about 30 years, he worked alongside Mr Morrison's wife Sarah and, although they were political adversaries, they became close friends.

Mrs Morrison, speaking from her Wedhampton home, paid tribute to Mr Ainslie's long service as a politician and said: "I am desperately sad.

"This is the end of an era of great Wiltshiremen who stuck to what they had to do.

"Jack was a very public spirited figure with enormous generosity in those great years when we took our public duties and responsibilities very seriously."

Mary Fallon, former chairman of Wiltshire Social Services, said she owed much to the support Mr Ainslie had given her.

She said: "Jack Ainslie was a great Liberal and democrat of who we would all be very proud to have known.

"We who worked with him shall miss him very much as a beloved friend and colleague."

Lord Faulkner of Worcester, who later contested Devizes for Labour as Richard Faulkner, said: "He was a representative of the old school of parliamentary candidates in country areas; urbane, intelligent, knowledgeable on rural matters, a gentleman."

Mr Ainslie and his wife Shelagh raised a son and three daughters and he helped run a busy farm partnership, Gale and Ainslie, at Mildenhall.

Many will say his greatest legacy is Action for The River Kennet (ARK) campaign group that he helped found in 1990.

Mr Ainslie was as at home heading the Liberal party's national agricultural panel as he was sitting as chairman of Mildenhall Parish Council.

Mrs Ainslie said: "He really loved the village and its people and was proud to be working for them."