AN HONORARY citizen of Chipping Norton has died, aged 76.

Michael Howes, known as Mike, received the title for years of service to the town’s community, and was a chartered accountant and founder of Howes & Co.

He also taught accountancy at South Oxfordshire Technical College and later at Oxford Brookes University.

During retirement, he raised money for charity through events such as the Chipping Norton Jazz Festival, which he created, and was a member of a number of local organisations.

Michael Howes was born on November 26, 1937, in Merton, south London.

He grew up in Chichester, where he first met future wife Terry. After leaving school at 16, he studied accountancy for five years while also working for a local accountancy firm, eventually qualifying as a chartered accountant in May 1959. During this period he enjoyed spending time sailing.

In 1956 he was to meet the future Mrs Howes again when she joined Bognor Yacht Club, of which he was a member.

The couple became engaged in 1959 and in the same year, Mr Howes was called up for National Service with the army in Germany, sending home £5 a week to fund their wedding.

The pair married on April 8, 1961, at St Mary’s Church, Southbourne. They honeymooned in Jersey. After the wedding, Mr Howes went back to Germany on his own, his wife joining him in April, 1962, for the final seven months of his service. Mrs Howes was five months pregnant by the time they returned to Britain in November.

The following month, Mr Howes took a job at an accountancy firm in Bridgewater and the couple moved to the area. Their first daughter, Julie, was born in 1963. Sarah, their second, followed in 1965.

They lived in Bridgewater until 1967, when they moved to Woodstock before moving to Guisborough, Yorkshire, in 1968 for three years.

In August 1971 the family returned to Oxfordshire, this time settling in Market Street, Chipping Norton.

Mr Howes became a partner at Grant Thornton Accountants and then in 1972 also got a second job teaching at South Oxfordshire Technical College in Henley. During his time in Chipping Norton, Mr Howes became involved in groups such as the local branch of the Rotary Club, in 1984, and later the Royal British Legion and the Conservative Association. Rotary membership took him to conferences in different parts of the world. He also became a senior lecturer at Oxford Polytechnic (later to become Oxford Brookes University).

In 1988 Mr Howes started his own accountancy firm, Howes & Co in Market Place, which he ran until 2001, when he retired and sold the firm.

Mr Howes was a fan of jazz music and in 1997 started the popular Chipping Norton Jazz Festival, a free one-day event which takes over the town centre every September.

He was an honorary president of the Chipping Norton Conservatives and an officer of the Rotary Club.

He had also served as treasurer for the Lawrence Home Nursing Team, the Friends of St Mary’s Church and other groups.

Last November, Mr Howes was made an honorary citizen of Chipping Norton by mayor Michael Tysoe, with the award being recognised in a personal note from Prime Minister and constituency MP David Cameron.

Mr Howes died at home on February 12 after a battle with acute myeloid leukemia.

He is survived by his wife, two daughters and five grandchildren.

A funeral service will take place at Banbury Crematorium tomorrow and a public service of thanksgiving will be held at St Mary’s Church, Chipping Norton, at 3pm. All are welcome.

A minute’s silence was also held in tribute to Mr Howes at a Chipping Norton Town Council meeting on February 17.