THE funeral has taken place at St Andrew’s Church, Wiveliscombe, of former Kingsmead Community School teacher Graham Gibbon, who has died at the age of 80.

Mr Gibbon was head of English at the Wiveliscombe school for 24 years and died at Musgrove Park Hospital on Friday, January 28.

Mr Gibbon is remembered as a kind and generous gentleman who worked hard for all his students, regardless of their ability.

He was born in Whitchurch, Cardiff, where he was the first member of his family to attend grammar school.

He went on to study English at Cardiff University, where he was captain of the football team and earned the nickname Gazelle due to his speed.

He briefly thought he might become a journalist but settled instead for a career in teaching. He spent three years at a school in Sydney, Australia, before returning to Cardiff to teach. He arrived in Wiveliscombe in 1977 where he taught at Kingsmead until his retirement in 2001.

His partner Eva Heim, who was a German teacher at Kingsmead, said: "Graham was an excellent and understanding teacher.

"He worked very hard to enrich students’ lives in so many ways, such as giving up his time to encourage creative writing, chess and public speaking. He tried to nurture everyone, no matter what level they were working at.

"He was hugely popular with students and staff. He would always invite new staff to his home and put them up if they had nowhere to stay."

Mr Gibbon was a keen sportsman who enjoyed playing tennis and was a huge Welsh rugby fan.

He was also a passionate gardener who created a beautiful garden from scratch at his home in Wiveliscombe.

Mr Gibbon lived with dementia in recent years and Ms Heim added: "Even though it offered a challenge in his final years, he retained his amazing kindness and generosity."

Mr Gibbon had three children with his former wife, Marie.