TRIBUTES have been paid to a former teacher and dedicated charity fundraising champion who died earlier this month at the age of 86.

Robert Hutchings was well-known in Leonard Stanley for his charitable and voluntary work at the primary school, village hall and church as well an annual plant sale which he and his wife Jill ran from their garden, raising thousands of pounds for charity.

The couple were invited to a Buckingham Palace Garden party for their efforts after raising £61,000 from the sales over 40 years until 2015.

Irena Litton, Leonard Stanley Parish Council clerk, said: “Robert was a larger than life figure who will be sorely missed. We send our love and best wishes to the whole family.” 

His neighbour of 60 years, Tim Vale said: "Although he adopted a lower profile in his later years, Robert will be greatly missed in the village and we extend our sincere sympathy to Jill and the family."

Robert was born in Bristol in 1936 and raised by his widowed mother after his father was killed in the Second World War.

He earned a physics degree before National Service in the RAF, where he rose to the rank of Pilot Officer.

After leaving the RAF, he married Jill, whom he had known since childhood, and they both got teaching jobs in London before moving to Leonard Stanley, where he became head of physics at Marling School in Stroud.

He later became head of science at Cheltenham Ladies' College, writing several physics text books and moderating A-level papers.

In the village, he was a keen member of the Leonard Stanley Parent Teachers' Association and oversaw the building of the first school swimming pool and changing rooms.

Following that, he served as project manager for the conversion of the village school into the village hall, which included much physical labour as well as organising the volunteer labour force.

One of the rooms was named the Kingston Room after his house name in his honour.

For many years, Robert and his wife ran Music at the Priory, a series of summer concerts in St Swithun's Church, Leonard Stanley.

He was also the chairman of the Leonard Stanley Liaison Group when the village twinned with the town of Dozule in France.

Robert passed away at Moreton Hill care home near Stonehouse on Tuesday, June 14 aged 86.

His family say his health had been failing for several months but that the end was very peaceful.