ACF Car Finance has announced the death of divisional group buying manager Leyton Cooper, aged 35.

In a statement ACF Car Finance said Cooper was "a well-known figure in the motor trade and motor finance industry" and that friends and colleagues "have been shocked and saddened by news of his premature death" on 20 September.

Cooper was based at ACF’s Chester offices, having joined the company in 2001 as a trainee in its vehicle procurement department after seven years as a qualified motor technician.

"Leyton’s hands-on mechanical knowledge and ability to pinpoint the best and most merchantable used cars for re-sale saw him rise within the company to become its most senior buyer," said the statement.

"In this role, he became known as a skilled and much admired professional among his hundreds of contacts within companies associated with the industry.

"To his many friends and colleagues at ACF Car Finance, and its parent company The Funding Corporation, Leyton was extremely well liked both for his engaging personality and good humour.

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"He also possessed great energy, not just as a manager but also as an enthusiastic participant in fundraising events organised to support the automotive industry’s charity BEN.

"Last November, Leyton helped raise over £3000 for the cause by taking part in a gruelling 1700-mile rally to Italy in an old part-exchanged car donated by the company."

David Challinor, managing director of The Funding Corporation, added Cooper would be greatly missed by all.

Cooper is survived by his partner Michelle and their daughter.

His funeral was held on 4 October in Derbyshire where he grew up.