FROM 'devastation' four years ago to utter joy this time.

The tale of Brian Pearce's path to election victory has been marked with tears and tragedy.

But his personal story is just as, if not more, compelling than the fact he has become UKIP's first ever councillor in Wycombe.

After losing out to ex-Mayor Val Razzaq in surely one of the most incredible contests in the district's electoral history in 2007 – by the drawing of names from a hat – Mr Pearce finally savoured the sweet taste of success on Friday.

It was a case of third time lucky for the 64 year-old lifelong Booker resident, who came out top in the in the Booker and Cressex ward ballot.

Mr Pearce, a carpenter, said: “Last time I tied for second place with Val Razzaq and it came to drawing a name out of hat.

"It was actually a shoebox but a hat sounded more dramatic.”

After five recounts the two contenders were still level pegging and officers were not even sure what the procedure was because it was so unusual.

The father-of-one said: “I saw the lady pull the name out and I could see it was Val.

"I remember it as if it were yesterday, it was devastation.”

And he thought for a while he was facing groundhog day when a recount was called for on Friday.

“Not again, I was thinking,” he said.

But any doubts were soon removed and victory was confirmed.

“I was over the moon, absolutely marvellous,” he said.

In March last year, Mr Pearce faced “utter devastation” when his wife Lynne died aged 58.

In his victory speech he said he just wished Lynne had been alive to see it.

“I couldn't say any more after that I was just too choked up.

"I do just wish my dear wife was there.

“It was terrible. She'd had heart problems but had been discharged and said that weekend she felt marvellous.

“We were out for a meal and she virtually died in my arms.

"That was horrendous.”

Mr Pearce pledged to “fight tooth and nail” against plans for a community stadium at Wycombe Air Park in his Booker patch – a sentiment echoed by the second triumphant candidate in the ward Liberal Democrat Simon Parker.

The Conservatives had previously occupied both seats in Booker and Cressex.

UKIP Leader Nigel Farage has rung Mr Pearce to congratulate him on his success in becoming the party's first ever WDC representative.

Mr Pearce has also been re-elected as a Great Marlow Parish Councillor.

UKIP also gained two councillors for the first time in Aylesbury.