A HEARTFELT tribute has been paid to an ‘icon of Dorchester’.

Paetra Withnall has spoken of her happy memories of her ‘soulmate’ and partner of ten years Ron McDiarmid, who was known to countless county town residents as ‘Ron the doughnut man’.

She said she will always remember a happy man who was always smiling and would do anything to help anyone.

Ron was just 56 when he died suddenly from cardiomyopathy earlier this month after playing his beloved sport of badminton.

He leaves behind two children – Jake, 19, and Jessica, 14 – as well as three step-children Amy, 20, Freddie, 19 and 13-year-old Angus.

Ron, originally from Lincolnshire, has run various stalls in Dorchester’s South Street over the last 30 years but became known to many as the familiar face selling doughnuts.

Partner Paetra said his motivation was bringing happiness to others rather than making money.

She said: “He was an icon of Dorchester.

“He worked for love and he was always happy to hand out doughnuts for free on a regular basis.

“All the time he didn’t care about money, it wasn’t anything to him.

“His aim in life was to make people smile.”

Paetra said Ron was always willing to help others with anything and would never ask for or expect anything in return.

She said: “He was a very selfless kind of person and he would never ask for help.”

Ron played badminton and skittles in local leagues and was also a keen cyclist.

Paetra said she felt blessed to have had him in her life for the last ten years and they had done everything together.

She said: “We were soulmates.

“We both had the same interests, the same dreams and the same ambitions.”

Paetra added that they had enjoyed numerous adventures together and their long term plan was to go and live in Greece.

Ron’s popularity in the local community had been evident in the response to an appeal started by Jack Daniels from the Help a Friend Fund set up in memory of Dorchester musician Steve Charles.

Jack was aiming to raise £1,000 to help towards the cost of Ron’s funeral and the total was reached within a matter of days.

Paetra said: “It’s amazing what they have done.”

Ron’s funeral is being held at Weymouth Crematorium from 2.30pm on Wednesday, April 23.