Michael Eavis leads tributes to Arabella Churchill

Michael Eavis has paid a moving tribute to Arabella Churchill, one of Glastonbury Festival's leading organisers, who passed away last night aged 58.

The grandaughter of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Arabella passed away at 3am on Friday morning following a lengthy battle against cancer.

She leaves behind a legacy that includes her inspirational work with Glastonbury's Green Fields and years dedicated to connecting children with theatre.

Michael said in a statement: "It is with a great weight of grief and sadness to have to pass this message on to so many of you who have known her and worked with her for many years. She has been a stalwart and one of the most valuable members of our team for the last 37 years. Her energy, vitality, and great sense of morality and social responsibility have given her a place in our Festival history second to none.

"May her place in the great eternity be always peaceful and perhaps the mysteries of the heavens will accommodate her spirit forever."

Arabella helped organise the Glastonbury Fayre festival of 1971, aged 21, after running away from home due to the pressure she felt from her family name, later confessing she wanted to be a hippy.

The event was, in her own words, "chaos" and another festival wasn't attempted until 1979, which again made a loss.

But refusing to give up, Michael took on the debt, turned the festival into a CND event and took over as head organiser.

Arabella stayed and started a theatre programme which she developed as the Green Fields expanded. This year, she looked after around 1500 circus and theatre performers at the festival.

One of the original and most integral members of the festival's organisation, Michael recently said of her: "She is very strong-willed, very powerful. We're the pillars of this thing, she and I."

It is a sad day for Glastonbury Festival and our thoughts are with all Arabella's family and friends.