A SALISBURY teacher has been remembered for being a "brilliant" man with a "great sense of humour".

Gilbert ‘Alan’ Hill died on July 6, aged 87. He was born at his home in Wilton and was the son of George the local baker and Ethel. Alan, who was sometimes known as Gilly, was educated at Wilton Primary School and Bishop Wordsworth School where he was vice captain of boxing and athletics.

Before finishing his schooling he was called up for National Service and required special dispensation to remain and take his higher school certificate. On leaving school, he joined the Royal Signals where he was a member of their Radiolympia Team in 1949, showcasing the latest developments in wireless communications at Olympia in London.

After missing call up for the Korean War by a matter of days he completed his National Service and was free to continue his education; he qualified as a biology and rural studies (science) teacher in 1953, with an additional certificate of proficiency in Apiculture from the British Bee Keepers Association.

His first teaching post on qualifying was as assistant master at West Howe in Bournemouth, where he taught for three years. He then taught at Shrewton for a year before joining St Thomas’s Secondary school for boys in 1958.

Alan met his wife to be - Janice - in 1959 when she was on teaching practice at St Thomas’s from Salisbury Teacher Training College.

They were married at Sherborne Abbey in 1962 and enjoyed 55 years of marriage together.

During his time at St Thomas’s, Alan dedicated significant time supporting pupils with special education needs and worked with Salisbury Training College on associated problems.

As part of his teaching, he transformed an area of rubble into a school garden, and designed and oversaw the construction of a greenhouse and garden frames by the boys in his classes. In 1960, he was awarded The Teacher’s Diploma in School Gardening by the Royal Horticultural Society

Alan was appointed head of department, specialising in biology and rural studies, at St Thomas’s. As zoology and botany were two of his areas of expertise, his own children say they remember a number of interesting visitors during the school holidays – a tank of locusts being the most memorable.

He contributed greatly to many out of school activities – field studies, boxing, road safety, money management, rambling, gardening, music appreciation, woodwork and debating, to name but a few.

When St Thomas’s combined with Westwood School for Girls in 1973 to become Westwood St Thomas, he took on the role of senior tutor and was head of examinations until his retirement from ill health in 1989.

In addition to his teaching role, he was for many years, treasurer and occasional president of both the Salisbury and Wiltshire chapters of the National Union of Teachers and also served as chairman and board director of the Teachers’ Building Society.

In retirement Alan pursued many pastimes including travelling overseas, painting and walking although he was happiest working in his beautiful garden with his wife Janice.

Alan and Janice had two children Elaine and Richard, five grandsons and a great grandson whom Alan saw just before he died.

His family said: "He will be sorely missed both by his family and all who knew him as a brilliant, but quiet and unassuming man with a great sense of humour."

Alan’s funeral takes place on August 4 at Salisbury Crematorium. Donations can be made to the RNLI through Newman’s Undertakers of Winchester Street Salisbury, 01722 413 136.