THE former headteacher of Woodstock Primary School, conservationist and ornithologist, John Brucker, has died aged 86.

Mr Brucker was headteacher at Woodstock primary for 25 years and pursued a passion for nature as president of Oxford Ornithological Society.

As well as penning books and articles on birdwatching, the nature lover had a weekly feature in The Oxford Times, was a member of Kidlington and District Historical Society and president of Woodstock Natural Historical Society.

His eldest daughter Kathy described him as an “independent spirit” who would be sorely missed. His conservation efforts were recognised with many awards and he was even invited to the Queen’s Garden Party in 2007.

John Brucker was born in Oxford on June 1, 1929, to Frank Brucker, who ran a building business, and Gertrude. He had one sister – who survives him – Christine.

After spending his childhood in a small house in Leckford Road and attending SS Philip and James Primary School and then Oxford Boys High School in George Street, he trained as a teacher at Culham Teacher Training College between 1947 and 1949.

The keen musician met his future wife Vivienne Tribble in SS Philip and James Church when they joined the choir on the same day.

They married two years later in 1954 at the Leckford Road church before having three children, Katherine, 59, Adrian, 56, and Hilary, 52.

He took on various teaching jobs at Bury Street School in Abingdon, Old Marston Primary School and Wheatley Primary School before taking the headteacher’s job at Woodstock Primary School – a post he would make his own for 25 years until his retirement in 1990.

When he arrived, the school had no phone, no secretary and no books, but over the course of his tenure a school library, facilities for special needs children and new school building were all constructed under his watchful eye.

A concert, to which Mr Brucker invited parents, led to the creation of Woodstock Music Society – an organisation still running today.

Aside from his natural talent as a teacher, he was also a passionate naturalist and ornithologist.

His interest started as a young boy when he ventured off on his own exploring Port Meadow.

He became influential in the birding world securing a post as president of the Oxford Ornithological Society.

He kept the declining society going in the 1960s and 70s, encouraging new members, and was awarded a life membership in 2005.

Mr Brucker was also an avid Oxford United fan his whole adult life, attending matches every week and later with his son Adrian, who was also a season ticket holder.

On January 26 he passed away following a long battle with Alzheimer’s. He leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Vivienne, his three children and four grandchildren.