The hunting community is mourning the loss of farmer David Hall, 73, who broke his neck after a fall while out riding with the Duke of Beaufort Hunt.

The accident happened on Saturday near Westonbirt when Mr Hall’s horse came to a sudden stop at a fence and he was thrown from the saddle.

Hunt secretary Nigel Maidment said Mr Hall, of Parks Farm, Badminton, was well loved by the entire hunting fraternity.

He said: “It was a totally freak accident. The last time I saw something like this happen was 16 years go.

“David was a very strong supporter of hunting and everything rural.

“He was an extremely generous man and if you were a hunter he’d be your best friend from the outset.”

Mr Hall was attended by the Gloucestershire Air Ambulance and Mr Maidment praised their professionalism. He said: “The paramedics were incredibly good in dealing with such a difficult situation.

“We are going to have a charity meet in January which will raise money for the Gloucestershire and Wiltshire air ambulances.”

He added: “David died doing what he loved and thankfully he wouldn’t have felt anything.

“It is a great shock though to his family and the hunting community.”

Mr Hall was born in Tormarton and spent his whole life farming in the area. He leaves wife Helen, 64, and two sons Philip, 37, and Richard, 40.

In a tribute, his family said Mr Hall would be fondly remembered. They said: “David, Dad, Grampy, Baddie. You were a very wonderful and special husband, father and grandfather.

“We have been devastated by your sudden passing, but know that if you had to choose a way to go then on the hunting field, following hounds on a good horse would have been it.

“You built a fine dairy herd and hunting was your passion. The hole you have left will never be able to be filled and we will always be very proud to have been your family. You will never be forgotten.”

Master of the Hunt Ian Farquar paid tribute to a well loved countryman. He said: “We have lost a very popular and respected local farmer and stalwart of the hunting community.

“He walked puppies all his life and had a great interest in the hounds.”

Hunt spokesperson Jo Aldridge said she was glad to have known Mr Hall.

She said: “He was a most lovely man, an absolute gentleman and it is a pleasure to have known him. He was passionate about the countryside and the world is a poorer place without him.”