Paul Diviani in 2014
Paul Diviani in 2014. Credit: EDDC

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) former leader Paul Diviani passed away last week prompting tributes, describing him as ‘a joy and an inspiration to work with’.

EDDC's Chair and Chief Executive have paid their respects following the sad news about Paul’s death on Thursday evening (5 January 2023). 

Paul was an EDDC councillor for 20 years, from 1999 to 2019 and the leader of the council from 2011 to 2018, holding the position of EDDC's chair and portfolio holder for the economy, regeneration and strategic development during his tenure. In December 2019, he was made an Honorary Alderman. 

EDDC’s Chair, Councillor Ian Thomas said: 

I was deeply saddened by the news of Paul’s passing. My heart-felt sympathy goes out to Paul’s family and friends. 

I knew Paul well, serving in his cabinet throughout his leadership. Paul was much more than ‘front of house’ for the council and a great ambassador for EDDC through his work at national level with the Local Government Association, at county level as a long serving county councillor and at district level through his work with his beloved Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

The relationship that he established with the late Pete Edwards when he was leader of Exeter City Council was instrumental in securing tens of millions of pounds of investment into East Devon. We continue to benefit from the impact of this funding, particularly in our work around the Cranbrook new town.

EDDC’s Chief Executive Mark Williams added: 

Paul was a joy and an inspiration to work with and I have many happy memories of much fun and laughter at the various events and meetings we attended together as leader and CEO over the years that I knew and worked with him. 

In addition to his time as a councillor he was well-known locally from his 19 years as landlord of The Kings Arms pub in Stockland and will be much missed by us all.