Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 13:20 UK

Rally champion dies in road crash

Paul Choat
Paul Choat was described as a "larger-than-life character"

A man who died in a Hampshire road crash was a three times 4x4 off-road British Rally Champion.

Paul Choat, 43, died when his Mercedes convertible collided with a telegraph pole and a tree on the A338 at Blashford, near Ringwood, on Saturday.

Mr Choat, who lived in Fordingbridge, was pronounced dead at the scene. No other vehicle was involved.

His partner Beverley, her family and Mr Choat's friends were "devastated by his loss", police said.

One friend, Barry Watkins, said: "Paul was unique, a larger-than-life character who was willing to help anyone.

"His death leaves a huge hole in many people's lives."

Mr Choat also owned the Verwood 4x4 and Mini Centre.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

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