TRIBUTES have been paid to a stalwart of the Bromsgrove church community after his death, aged 71.

David Hargreaves played a key role in the Anglican churches in Redditch and Bromsgrove.

He died suddenly but peacefully after being treated for several conditions including a more unusual form of leukaemia. He leaves behind two children, Aidan and Alice, and five grandchildren.

A family statement from daughter Alice said: "My family loved being in my dad's company; enjoying the quiet calmness of his character, his understanding of the world and his absolutely awful one liner dad jokes."

David was a Licensed Lay Minister in the Ipsley Team and could often be found worshipping at St Peter’s as well as St John’s Church in Greenlands.

He joined St Peter’s in the late 1970s, with his faith developing when he was in his forties.

David's faith and involvement increased with encouragement from Ray Adams, a former Rector at the church, and he became a Reader at the church.

David served as the Lay Chair of Bromsgrove Deanery for many years and was also a member of a number of diocesan committees.

For more than 25 years, he was a governor at Ipsley Middle School - including a lengthy spell as chair of governors - and was part of the Open the Book Team in Ipsley, going into schools to lead assemblies.

Rector of Ipsley, Garth Nathaniel said: “I have lost a very good friend and someone who would challenge and encourage me.

"Dave had an analytical mind which he brought to church governance, but also to his study of scripture, ensuring his faith was practical and not just theoretical.”

Indeed, David was a man of science and studied metallurgy at Manchester University before spending most of his working life at Rover in Longbridge.

Area Dean of Bromsgrove and Vicar of St Stephen’s, Redditch, Paul Lawlor, said: “Dave was a great friend, a huge support for me personally and would offer the challenge I needed when it was warranted.

"The last time I spoke to him, he quizzed me at length about data related to a possible deanery reorganisation!

"I will miss him as a friend and as a co-worker in the Kingdom of God. My prayers are with his family and friends as we grieve his loss.”

Rosie Humphrey worked alongside Dave as a Lay Minister.

She said: “David will be very much missed by the Lay Minster Community, the Deanery Synod, the various committees he served on within the Diocese and the church communities of which he was a part.

"He was loyal and objective in his thinking - not someone to rush in with an emotional response, but he was always very clear in what he believed and not afraid to tell you what he thought.”