A FORMER Gazette columnist from Pilning who ‘lived for his community’ has sadly died at the age of 83.

A popular figure in the village, Roy Edwardes, the Gazette’s former ‘man in Pilning’, passed away on Tuesday, July 10 of heart failure, surrounded by his family.

Born in Horfield, Bristol, Roy first began frequenting Pilning after seeing an advertisement for a new church organist to play during services in St Peter’s Church.

Having cycled all the way to the village for his audition, ‘wowing the ladies’ in his shorts, the visit changed his life forever as he would meet Pat, his beloved wife of 61 years.

Settling in the village, the railway worker, and eventually chief boiler inspector for the remaining preserved steam locomotives, would go on to play the organ at the church for more than six decades, taking an active role within the church and fully embracing village life.

During his life, Roy donned many caps, most notably as a regular contributor to the Gazette, with the popular column ‘Our Man in Pilning’ running for well over a decade, and even when that monthly feature ended, he kept up his editorial prowess, serving as editor for the ‘In View’ parish magazine.

But despite his loyalties to his publication, he would never keep the Gazette far from his thoughts and would also be in contact if something newsworthy came up.

He was also notably a school governor, chairman of Severn Beach and Pilning Parish Council, gang show producer, volunteer engine driver at Bristol Harbour Railway and a founding member of both the village local history group and mobility charity WASP (Wheels at St Peter’s).

In his passing, Roy leaves behind wife Pat, sons Robert, Martin and Jonathan, as well as three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

“He was very well loved, well liked and respected,” said son Jonathan. “No one had a bad word to say against him.

“He was a man who lived for his community and, being involved in almost everything, I remember him jokingly saying ‘We have a village to run’.

“On top of that he was someone who could turn his hand to anything and be really good at it, he was very creative and enjoyed organising things, arts, poetry, writing, anything like that.

“We will all miss him tremendously.”

A funeral service has been planned for July 25 in St Peter’s Pilning at 10.45am, with a wake to follow at the church.

A marquee will be set up down one side of the church in the event of well-wishers exceeding the capacity of the church.