TRIBUTES have been paid to a community stalwart and well-known businessman who helped establish one of the most important community hubs in Dursley.

Barry Walker, who has died aged 89, was one of the founding trustees of the Chantry Centre in 2009 and was instrumental in helping to transform what was the old Lister Hall building into a thriving social venue.

A successful builder by trade, he helped ensure the roof was replaced, provided a generous donation and also provided valuable advice on a range of issues facing the charity using his knowledge of property and construction.

Geoff Wheeler, vice chair and trustee of the community hub, said Barry would be greatly missed.

He said: "Barry advised on the necessary work and provided a very generous donation to the cost of re-roofing the hall.

"Barry's advice and support for the changes to the use and improvements to Chantry Centre were much valued.

"As measure of their appreciation the trustees appointed Barry as president of the charity. He will be missed."

Barry's son Phillip said: "Dad regarded his family and grandchildren and great-grandchildren as his true legacy and never ceased to enjoy watching them develop.

"He was one of a kind, very driven, hard working and interested in everything.

"He mellowed as he aged and enjoyed supporting the Chantry Centre and other local concerns."

A prominent member of the town, Barry set up his own building business B Walker & Co when he was 27 in 1960.

The company grew to become a successful construction company which owns and rents property throughout Gloucestershire and is still based in Dursley.

Barry was born in Wortley Terrace, Wotton-under-Edge on July 16, 1933.

His father, Victor, worked as a loom tuner for Tubbs Lewis in Kingswood.

Sadly his mother died when Barry was 12.

After leaving school aged 14 with no qualifications, his father found him employment at the old Mawdsleys factory in Dursley.

He then undertook a seven year apprenticeship with Tileys and fitted National Service with the Navy around this, although he was later discharged on medical grounds.

Around this time he married his partner Delphine and the couple went on to have two children.

Barry formed B Walker & Co Ltd with Delphine in November 1960.

The company undertook major work for Lister and also work on the housing estates at Orchard Leaze and Nortonwood.

Barry had a lifelong interest in racing pigeons and birds and also took up gliding at the Bristol and Gloucestershire Club at Nympsfield.

However following a serious accident in 1966 when he broke both legs and fractured his skull he became more interested in flying light aircraft.

He flew in all continents except Antarctica and competed in air events as far away as Malta, Leningrad and Israel.

During the 1970s he married Susan Bridgeman and the couple had two children.

In the early 1990s the focus of the B Walker & Co company changed to property ownership and development after building multi-million car auction centres across the country.

Barry died at home on Sunday, September 18 after a long illness.

The Chantry Centre trustees will consider who to appoint as the new president at their AGM in November.