WILLIAM “Bill” McCreadie, Eynsham lock keeper for more than 30 years, has died aged 76.

He received an MBE for his services to the Thames.

The father and grandfather was brought up in Ulster but was well-known in the Eynsham area, and competed in Aunt Sally leagues at his local pub, the Queen’s Head.

Mr McCreadie was born on September 16, 1939, in Coleraine to parents Alec and Mary.

He had eight siblings, Margaret, Bobbie, Bill, Alec, Jimmie, Davey, Danny and Trevor, who died as a baby.

Mr McCreadie left school just before he turned 15 to become an apprentice coach painter.

He hand-painted cars until his apprenticeship came to an end, and he moved to England, aged 19, to look for work.

He started off in Slough, working on a trading estate before returning to Northern Ireland to take up a job at a swimming pool.

He spent about five years working for Salter’s Steamers in Windsor, operating one of the boats. It was there, aged 25, he met Maureen Jones selling tickets for the company.

The pair were married within six months and had a ceremony in Marlow at the end of 1965.

They started off living in Hurley and Mr McCreadie got a job at a paper mill.

They stayed there until their first child, Brian, was born in 1966 and Mr McCreadie started looking for more secure work.

He got a job with the Thames Conservancy as a relief lock keeper at Marlow and Cookham locks. He worked there for three years and then became assistant lock keeper at Marlow.

Their second son, Edward was born in 1968.

In October 1969 the family moved to Eynsham lock house, where Mr McCreadie became lock keeper.

He worked at Eynsham from 1969 until his retirement in 2004.

The family then moved to Old Witney Road, Eynsham in May 2005.

In 2003 he was awarded an MBE for his services to the River Thames and the local community.

He died on November 29, after suffering from lung cancer.

He is survived by his wife Maureen, sons Brian and Edward and foster daughter Julie, and grandchildren James, Charlotte, Olivia, Rachel, Aaron, Alexander, Isabella and Nathanael.

His funeral will be on December 11 at St Leonard’s Church, Eynsham, at noon.