Former Tory council leader dies in tragic circumstances at Somerset estate | Political | news

Tributes have been pouring in Conservative Party Politician and landowner Anthony Trollope-Bellevue has died suddenly in “tragic circumstances”. The married father-of-two, who was in his late sixties and served on Somerset West and Taunton Council, died on Friday while at his estate on the edge of the Quantock Hills. The former leader of the now defunct West Somerset District Council has been described as a “much liked and respected” farmer. He leaves a widow, Annabelle, and two daughters.

David Fothergill, Conservative leader of Somerset County Council, said he was shocked by “Anthony’s untimely death in obviously tragic circumstances”.

He said: “Anthony is a larger than life character who cares passionately about West Somerset, Quantox and doing the right ‘thing’.

“As Leader of West Somerset District Council and as a Cabinet Member at Somerset County Council, Anthony was greatly liked and respected by colleagues and officials alike.

“My thoughts are with his wife Annabelle, their family and friends at this sad time.”

Ian Liddell-Gringer, Conservative MP for West Somerset, said Mr Trollope-Bellevue represented a “huge loss to the Quantock community”.

He commented: “The family name has been synonymous with the area for decades and Anthony was one of the most respected members of the local farming community.

I have known him since he became an MP 21 years ago and always had great admiration for the way he managed two family estates.

“But even more impressive is the way he dedicated himself to public service as a county and district councilor and chairman of the Quantock Commons.”

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Mr Liddell-Grainger added: “His knowledge of and love for the Quantocks made him a true champion of the Quantocks, who spoke up bravely on countless occasions representing the interests of local families.

“I know he was held in enormous respect locally and there are many families who have been devastated by his untimely death and their thoughts are now with the family Anthony has left behind.”

Exmoor Conservative councilor Steven Buxley, another former leader of West Somerset Council, also expressed his shock at Mr Trollope-Bellevue’s death.

He said: “It’s shocking and very sudden. I sat next to him at the SWT council meeting on Tuesday evening and was talking to him about his hip replacement and he’s taken a full share of local affairs. As he always has done for years.

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“He was the kind of person who led from the front, and if he was involved in an organization, he would do his part to the fullest and not let anybody else do it.

“Although he didn’t run for the new unitary council, he was still very much involved in local affairs and I hope he will continue to be so.”

Fellow SWT councilor Bennett Allen described Mr Trollope-Bellevue as a “true Tory of the old school” and added: “Anthony was quick to welcome me to what was then West Somerset Council as a newly elected councilor in February 2018.

“Almost immediately, we began the process of merging with Taunton Deane – selecting a new chief executive and what turned out to be a series of local government restructures.

“Councillor Trollope-Bellevue was a true Tory – patrician of the old school, yes, but that came with the territory. He served with a sense of public duty and was unfailingly charming and kind to all parties. His steady hand, and willingness to work with his political rivals, in Somerset West and Taunton We will be sadly missed by all involved.”

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