THE wife of a York academic who has died suddenly said his death broke her into “a million unbearably painful pieces”.

Rachel Hewitt, the wife of Dr Pete Newbon, an academic and prominent campaigner against antisemitism who passed away on January15, has spoken of her devastation on Twitter.

Dr Hewitt, herself a writer and academic, wrote on Twitter: “Pete Newbon was my best friend, my partner-in-crime, my beautiful, kind husband, a brilliant reader and scholar."

Dr Newbon, a senior humanities lecturer at Northumbria University and a director of the anti-racism group Labour Against Antisemitism (LAA), also leaves young three daughters.

Rachel went on to say: "Pete was the best daddy in the world to our three beautiful daughters, and I just don’t know how we’re going to bear his loss.

"I’m broken into a million unbearably painful pieces.”

Friends of Dr Newbon have appealed for short recollections from loved ones to include in a book for the family.

Helen Lewis, a journalist who organised it, hailed a “beloved father, principled campaigner and kind, funny friend”.

Activists joined in on tributes, with LAA spokesperson Fiona Sharpe praising the “kind, generous and decent man who will be desperately missed by all who knew him”.

“Pete Newbon has been described as a ‘lamedvovnik’ – a hidden saint or righteous person,” she wrote.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism said it was “extremely sad to learn of the passing of Pete Newbon, who dedicated himself to fighting antisemitism”.

And presenter of Channel 4’s Countdown, Rachel Riley, tweeted: “I didn’t know Pete personally, but I cert knew of him and his tireless campaigning – he was a mensch. Feeling for his friends and family, there were so many, and they’re heartbroken.”

A Gofundme page has also been set up to try and help the family cover funeral expenses and has already raised more than £10,000.

His friend, the journalist Padraig Reidy, who set it up, said: "It’s no compensation for the loss of such a gentle, well-respected man, but we hope it will be some comfort to Pete’s family to know that his community rallied round his family at their darkest hour.

"Any money left over from funeral and other expenses will be put into savings for Pete’s three girls, who were the centre of his life."

Dr Newbon was involved last year in a public row after apparently posting an altered image of former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Twitter.

It is believed an inquest in to Dr Newbon's death will be held at a later date.