ARMY major and primary school teacher Richard “Dick” Brown will be remembered as a “larger-than-life figure”, whose enthusiasm for life was infectious.

Mr Brown and his wife Madeleine, from Wantage, influenced generations of children by running orienteering, kayaking and expeditions in the UK and abroad for the Girl Guides and Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Mr Brown, who taught at Millbrook School in Grove, died at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on January 25, following a stroke in December. He was 85.

Son Geoff said: “He will be remembered as a larger-than-life figure whose warm and gentle humour, generosity, and enthusiasm for life were infectious.

“He lived life to the full, regularly dissolving in fits of giggles with his playful grandchildren, nicknamed Things One, Two, Three and Four, after Dr Seuss.

“His has been a formative influence on so many lives and he will be recalled by many as an old-style gentleman who always had a smile.”

Mr and Mrs Brown came to live in Wantage in 1968 after returning from military service in Germany.

The couple had met while he was in army training and she was teaching.

They both sang in a Garrison choir, and after Madeleine Shiel broke her knee in a skiing accident, the young officer helped her down the stairs. They married in 1957.

He joined the Royal Tank Regiment in 1946 as a private, serving in Hong Kong and Ghana as well as in the Rhine Army, and left as a Major in 1968.

Back in England, Mr Brown retrained as a teacher at a teacher training college in Culham, starting sailing and kayaking clubs there.

He taught at primary schools in Faringdon, then Marcham, and in retirement volunteered at Millbrook School in Grove.

His family said the principal quality he looked for in his pupils, as with those he led in the Army, was enthusiasm, and bringing out the best in others was a pursuit throughout his life.

In his later years, Mr Brown was an active member of the Wantage Art Group, Field Club and Photo Club, helping to organise events, and was secretary to a local ramblers group.

He volunteered at the Court Hill outdoor centre on the Ridgeway, taught computers to seniors at Wantage Library and primary school children at Millbrook, and worked as a keeper for the Vale and Downland Museum, showing visitors around.

All who would like to share their memories of Mr Brown are invited to the Vale and Downland Museum on Tuesday, February 25, from 4.30pm to 6pm.

He is survived by his wife, Maidie, 86, his sons Geoff, who lives in Cornwall, and Graham, and grandchildren Lea, Conor, Daniel and Finn.