HUNDREDS of people turned out to pay their last respects to the saviour of Llangollen Food Festival - and heard it had just been named one of the best eight events of its kind in the UK.

There was standing room only at the Pentrebychan crematorium near Wrexham for the funeral of Colin Loughlin who died aged 76 from a suspected heart attack.

In 2011, Mr Loughlin came to the rescue when the previous organisers of the festival pulled the plug and he was elected chairman of a committee of volunteers who helped revive the event.

After being named as one of the top 10 food festivals in the UK, the Llangollen event has now been hailed as one of the best eight in the UK by the Redonline website.

Colin’s contribution as the chair of the festival committee has been celebrated with a painting of him in a mural on the side of the Llangollen pavilion where the event is held every October.

A native of Wrexham, Colin ran a wine distribution company called Whitehouse Wines in Coedpoeth before going into business with Lorraine Hughes.

They bought an existing company called Megan’s Kitchen which makes Welsh Cakes.

She said: “Colin was a force of nature and an irreplaceable character but his legacy will live on in the form of Llangollen Food Festival which he was instrumental in saving and ensuring that it thrived and prospered."

The eulogy at the funeral was delivered by long-time friend Bob Jaques who is also the treasurer of the food festival committee.

Bob said: “After Colin moved to Llangollen, he became a well-loved member of the community and, when the festival organiser withdrew, Colin formed a committee to help continue the event.

“Colin was an enthusiastic member of Llangollen Round Table and had joined colleagues on a project to build a canal boat adapted for people with disabilities which became the Vale of Llangollen Canal Boat Trust. This first boat, Myfanwy, was built by apprentices at Camel Lairds shipyard and provided memorable days out for thousands.

“The Trust is currently building a new boat which will be launched in the Summer and donations in memory of Colin will go towards buying a defibrillator for this boat."