A WELL KNOWN Somerset businessman has tragically died after being crushed by his own tractor at his farm near Weston-super-Mare. 

Derek Mead, 70, whose family runs the award winning Puxton Park countryside attraction near Weston died on Sunday when he suffered a heart attack after being crushed by his own tractor which is thought to have been set in motion when a dog entered the cab

Police and paramedics were called to The Laurels in Hewish, near Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset at 2.18pm. 

Two response vehicles, an ambulance and an air ambulance attended and rescuers battled unsuccessfully to save the dad-of-three, who was in cardiac arrest. 

In a statement the Mead family, who have been farming in Somerset since the 1400s, described the death as a "terrible loss". 

They said: "It is with heavy hearts that we have to let you know that our father and grandfather, Derek Mead, was killed in a tragic accident on his farm. 

"He was doing what he loved and has been doing since he was a young boy. 

"The family thank you for all your kind messages during this time." 

Avon and Somerset Constabulary confirmed on Monday that the investigation has been passed to the Health and Safety Executive. 

The HSE said: "We can confirm HSE are aware of this incident and are making initial enquiries." 

Local councillor Mr Mead was the chairman of the Mead Group, which runs the biggest auction centre in southern England, and Puxton Park, a family attraction. 

He made his fortune in dairy farming, breeding pigs, sheep and three dairy herds across 2,000 acres of land in Somerset with his son Alistair. 

In 2010 the popular businessman famously resigned from the National Farmers' Union in protest at what he said was its failure to support dairy farmers. 

He was also involved in the construction sector and local politics and in 2013 was elected as an independent to North Somerset Council. 

Scores of tributes have been paid to the much loved businessman which described him as 'a true gentleman' and 'a great bloke.' 

 Conservative councillor Martin Williams said: "RIP Derek Mead. 

"We may have been on opposite sides of the council chamber but we always had a good laugh afterwards. 

"Every time you saw me you would shake my hand and tell me, 'I'll have you lot one day!' 

"Legend, I'll miss you loads mate. Sleep well." 

Another friend, Mike Coles, said: "Just had it confirmed that Derek Mead has been killed in a tractor accident. Such sad news. A true gent! RIP." 

David Lock described Mr Mead's death as a "tragic accident" and said: "Such a shock will be missed by so many was a great bloke! Thinking of the family at this sad time." 

Roystee Page described the farmer as "One of Weston-super-Mare's most popular characters," while Jayne Bodger said: "Noooooo. Such a character, not many left." 

Lucy Vowles added: "A massive loss to so many but most of all our Dad. RIP you have so much to the farming community and beyond. X."