A DRIVING force behind the local Conservative Party has died suddenly aged 32.
George Askew came to the area in early 2007 to take up a role as the election agent for his best friend Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson.
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He helped to mastermind Mr Stephenson’s two general election victories in 2010 and last year.
He also acted as a councillor for Boulsworth ward, Colne, on Pendle Council after being elected in 2008 and the following year he was elected onto Lancashire County Council representing Pendle Central.
Mr Stephenson said: “I’m utterly devastated by the sudden death of my best friend George.
“He was the driving force behind my election in 2010 and re-election in 2015.
“His support and guidance are one of the main reasons I represent Pendle today.
“I have no doubt that George was destined for great things which makes his untimely death even harder to bear.
“I have not only lost a valued colleague but a dear friend.
“You will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, George.”
A statement from Pendle Conservatives said that he had died suddenly on Saturday. He leaves father Harro, brother Max, sister Jennifer and partner Laura Makinson.
In a heartbreaking post on Facebook, Miss Makinson, said: “I am devastated to announce my boyfriend George William Askew passed away on Saturday.
“This is the start of one of the most difficult journeys a person has to take... to learn to live without their loved one.
“My best friend, my future husband, my George.
“I love you and I will miss you so much.”
Mr Askew was a popular political activist on a national level.
He was described by colleagues as a key figure in the Vote Leave campaign and had also campaigned with London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Mr Askew grew up in Lancaster attending Lancaster Royal Grammar School before going to Essex University.
He was a passionate supporter of rugby and also American football, a sport he fell in love with during his time at university.
He was re-elected onto Pendle Council in 2010, and served as chairman of Colne Area Committee for a year before stepping down from Pendle in 2012 and Lancashire County Council in 2013.
Following the 2010 General Election, George took up a new role working for Gloucester Conservatives as deputy agent, but he remained living in Pendle and commuted from his home in Colne.
Leader of Pendle Conservatives, Cllr Joe Cooney spoke on behalf of the council group.
He said: “We are all in shock, many of us are only councillors thanks to the work he put into getting us elected.
“On a personal level, George was the person that convinced me to stand for council and my first Conservative vote was for him in 2009.”