THE wife of popular Spire FM presenter Chris Ewington, who lost his cancer battle last week, has described her husband as a “larger than life character who loved to make people laugh and feel good about themselves”.

Liezel Ewington said her husband adored living in Salisbury and, despite the early starts, loved the six years he spent presenting the local radio station’s breakfast show.

Mr Ewington spent his childhood in London.

At the age of 16 he beat thousands of other applicants to become a chef for British Airways, cooking for first class passengers and Concorde customers.

He rose to the rank of sous chef, preparing meals for the rich and famous while travelling the world.

After leaving British Airways at the age of 27 he met Liezel in a London nightclub.

“It was love at first sight,” she said. “I was due to go back to South Africa as I was only here on holiday but I stayed and it was the best decision of my life.”

The couple moved to Salisbury in 2003 and ran a hog roast catering business through which they got to know many local people.

Mr Ewington was asked to record a radio advert promoting Salisbury Hospice and did such a good job it brought him to the attention of Spire FM’s station manager Ceri Hurford-Jones.

Days later he started presenting weekend programmes, before moving to the mid-morning and drive-time slots.

His big break came in 2005 when he was asked to present the flagship breakfast show.

“He just loved it and bounded out of bed each day,” said Mrs Ewington, 40.

“He wasn’t just behind a mic, he got out and met people and he talked about Salisbury.

“Chris was quick off the cuff but never unkind, he had a laugh with people and they loved him for it.”

“It took hours to walk across Salisbury because he stopped and chatted to everyone.”

Mr Ewington supported several local charities including Salisbury District Hospital’s Pembroke Ward and Stars Appeal and Lucy’s Days Out.

He was an ambassador for the Girl Guides and each year read Christmas stories to children at the former Britford Primary School.

Mr Ewington was diagnosed with lung cancer last April.

He was given the all clear in November but the disease came back, spreading to his neck, and he died at Salisbury Hospice last Monday aged 41.

“It was all so quick,”

said Mrs Ewington. “He put up a good fight and kept going right to the end.”

“I was so heartened by all the kind things people have said about him; I’m sure he is still smiling.

“Chris was someone who made you feel like his friend, wherever you were from.”

Mr Ewington’s funeral will be a private service for close friends and family.

Donations in his memory can be made to St Peter’s Church in Pitton and Salisbury Hospice through Ian Newman funeral directors, Winchester Street, Salisbury, 01722 413136.