A BUSINESSMAN and well-known angler has died aged 81.

Derek State was the president of the Newland Angling Club and owner of Witney tackle shop, State Tackle.

He founded the Cotswold Winter League for anglers and was also a collector of birds and fish.

Mr State, who was born in Brize Norton on March 18, 1932, spent his early life with his parents, William and Millie State, in Crawley Road, Witney.

Mr State was a pupil at the Batt School, leaving at the age of 14 to work as a trainee plasterer and bricklayer.

This was interrupted by two years of National Service in Egypt when he turned 18.

He was stationed there from 1950 to 1952, in the Suez Canal zone.

When he returned to Britain he married Iris Hutter in 1954. The couple divorced in 1972.

They had their first child, Adrian, in 1954, followed by Judith, in 1959, Graham, in 1961, and Janet, in 1963.

After marrying, he worked as a self-employed builder until 1962, when he took a job at Witney timber merchant CJ Clarke.

He remained there until going to work on the production line at British Leyland in the 1970s.

In 1978, his friend and local angler Bob Bridgman retired, and Mr State bought his fishing shop in Witney’s High Street, renaming it State Tackle.

He ran the shop until he retired in 1999, when his son Graham took over.

During the 1990s the business, which continues to operate, relocated to Windrush Valley Road, Witney.

In the early 1960s, Mr State joined the Witney Cage Bird Society and became its secretary.

During that time it held the second biggest regional cage bird show in the country.

He was a collector of birds himself, showcasing his own at the show.

After taking over the tackle shop, he also helped found the Newland Angling Club and was involved in buying the club’s own waters, as well as starting the Cotswold Winter League – well known to local anglers.

At the time of his death, he was still the club’s president and spent much of his time fishing with friends until he fell ill.

He continued to take an interest in fish, raising them in his ponds and continuing to play an active role in the running of the club.

Mr State died in his sleep on February 23, after suffering from a heart condition for several years.

He is survived by his four children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A funeral service will be held at St Mary’s Church, Witney, tomorrow at noon.

Those who knew him are welcome to attend.