A POPULAR and well respected teacher has died aged 59 after losing his battle with cancer.

Paul Collins joined Bishop Wordsworth’s School as a biology teacher in 1989 and later also ran the boys cricket team and the school’s Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

Headteacher Stuart Smallwood said Mr Collins’ reputation and popularity with the boys was legendary; on Duke of Edinburgh expeditions he was “indefatigable come rain, snow, ice, wind or shine” and would “always do his very best to make sure they had the opportunity to do well”.

“Captain Chaos, as he seems to have been affectionately tagged by some, was characterised by his energy, his patience and understanding with even the most wayward of charges and his breezy sense of humour.”

Mr Collins was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012 but kept a fighting spirit. He raised funds for Cancer Research UK during his illness and asked students and colleagues to join him on a charity expedition in the Lake District. A group of ten students also organised a 1,000-mile cycle ride to raise money for the charity in his honour.

He was an old-fashioned school master who enhanced a lot of students’ lives and prospects.

Dr Smallwood said: “There are two really telling images I have in my mind. One is of Paul at his last assembly in school, slightly embarrassed by the enthusiastic reception he was given by hundreds of Bishops boys in serried ranks in the sports hall. The second is of him at home, ill but still resolutely upbeat and cheerful, determined to give me travel advice about the best temples in Japan.”

Mr Collins lived with his wife Emiko in Codford. He died at home on January 12 and his funeral was held on Monday, with donations collected for Cancer Research UK.