A MUCH-LOVED Salisbury businessman who died last week aged 51 has been remembered as an “incredible husband and father” who was forever helping others.

David Ferris, a married father of twins, died in hospital on October 4.

He was managing director of fitness centre The Body Lounge and ran Luma Care, a residential care home for young adults with autism.

David launched Race for Men in 2015 with business partners Toby and Steve Giles, raising £35,000 for the Stars Appeal prostate cancer fund.

David’s wife Wendy said: “He was an incredible husband and father who will be missed.”

Best friend Haste Merchant, who met David when the pair were Redcoats at Butlin’s in Minehead in 1991, said it had been a privilege to know him.

“He was definitely a one-off. He inspired almost everyone he came into contact with. Not a day went by when he wasn’t helping someone.”

David’s dedication to helping young people with autism saw him win Carer of the Year at the 2014 Local Hero Awards.

At the time, he spoke about how fulfilling his work was and said: “The hardest part of the job is for them to be safe and for society to accept them.”

A former member of Musical Theatre Salisbury, David performed in several shows, including last year’s production of Annie.

Haste said: “David was brought onto this earth to spread love, laughter and happiness and he did that in bucket loads throughout his entire life.

“He was a true family man, spending as much time as he could with his two incredible children, whom he adored, and his wife of 18 years, for whom life will never be the same without him.

“Life without David as my very best friend will be a very hard pill to swallow.”

In a memorial notice in today’s Journal, David’s wife Wendy and children Noah and Ruby, both 13, said: “Words aren’t enough. Know that you were loved. Always in our hearts.”

Another message from David’s mother and father-in-law reads: “We were lucky to have you in our family. You gave us so much love and happiness. Life will never be the same again. Love and miss you always.”

A fundraising page (gofundme.com/david-ferris-childrens-future) set up to raise money for David’s children to attend university had raised more than £3,300 by yesterday. Dozens shared their happy memories of David and offered condolences to his family.

He was described as an “incredible man” whose “love for life was immense”. One message said: “His showmanship, leadership, joy and love shone like a beacon to us all.”

David ran the New York marathon with Toby Giles in 2011, raising more than £4,000.