New tributes to Cotswold Water Park visionary Jeremy Paxton
MILLIONAIRE water park property tycoon and "larger than life" action man Jeremy Paxton has died.
The 53-year-old former water skiing champion, who owned the 550-acre Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswold Water Park, died from a heart attack on the evening of Tuesday, February 5.
Jeremy, a father-of-three, had been on the verge of trialling a new Thunderbirds-style private ‘fire engine’ helicopter network, working with Wiltshire fire service.
The maverick flying enthusiast was intent on funding the seven-figure project out of his own pocket, saying "if it saves just one life it’s worth it."
Wiltshire’s chief fire officer Simon Routh-Jones said it had been a "privilege" to know Jeremy.
"I found him to be a vibrant, imaginative, enthusiastic and generous man, with a deep-seated desire to help his community and a boundless energy to get things done," Mr Routh-Jones said.
"It barely seems believable that someone who truly deserved the description ‘larger than life’ should have that life taken away at such a young age."
Not one to shy away from the spotlight, Jeremy was well known across the Cotswolds and beyond for his headline-grabbing stunts, including abseiling London’s Shard skyscraper with the Duke of York for charity, wrapping an entire house at Lower Mill Estate in wrapping paper and re-introducing the beaver to the English countryside.
Red, Ruby and Rory Paxton said their father had "the biggest zest for life" and the whole family was deeply upset by his sudden death.
In a statement, they said: "He had achieved so much, personally and professionally, and had so much more to give. He was the biggest inspiration.
"His vision for sustainable living alongside wildlife in the countryside was incredible and he created something ground breaking and long-lasting at Lower Mill Estate, which will live on forever.
Without any doubt, Jeremy would have wanted us all to carry on what he started - and we will be taking forward his vision and realising his ambition long into the future."
Cotswold Water Park trustee Simon Pickering has known Jeremy for around 20 years.
The former Wildfowl and Wetland Trust member said: “We started out on opposite sides of the fence but over the years we became really good friends.
“Jeremy was very enthusiastic. When I suggested we reintroduce the beaver he got straight onto it.
He added: “Lower Mill has made a huge difference to the Water Park. It’s a stunning example of integrating holiday homes with wildlife.”