TRIBUTES have been paid today following the death of a former Hampshire MP who represented his community for nearly 40 years.

Sir David Price was MP for Eastleigh from 1955 to 1992, rising to the rank of junior trade and aerospace minister under three separate Prime Ministers.

He passed away recently at the age of 89.

This morning, Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry led tributes to the long-serving Tory politician.

He said: “Sir David was an immensely popular MP coming from the 'One Nation' group of Conservatives.

“He was liked in all parts of his constituency whether it was in the core of the old railway town of Eastleigh or the more rural parts of Romsey when that was added as a result of a constituency boundary review.

“In Wellow he became the patron of the church appeal back in 1980 to raise funds for the mediaeval church of St Margaret's and from then on he regularly attended the annual Florence Nightingale Service and was the preacher on one occasion.

“I first got to know Sir David back in 1970 when I was first elected as an Eastleigh Borough Councillor for Chandlers Ford.

“He was always helpful and supportive as was his wife Rosemary.

“Then in the 1975 European Referendum he asked me to be his representative to help campaign for a Yes vote and he mentored and encouraged me on to my election to the European Parliament.

“I kept in touch with him since his retirement and still received a Christmas card from this year as indeed I did every year from 1969.

“He was a great man and my deepest sympathy goes to his daughter Arabella.

Sir Price was well known for campaigning for Britain to be a global competitor in aircraft manufacture, nuclear energy and space research.

Alongside politics he was also a passionate campaigner for the disabled.

Sir David Price was educated at Eton before winning a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge. During the war he was an intelligence officer and was first became an MP in 1955 winning by 581 votes.

Two years after his retirement, Eastleigh's seat was won by the Liberal Democrats.

In later years, he would continue to work locally, becoming a non-executive director of Southampton University Hospitals Trust and chair of Hampshire Community Care Forum. He was knighted in 1980.

He married Rosemary Johnson in 1960.

She died in 2006, and he is survived by their daughter.