A KEY figure in the history of Oxfordshire's museums, revered for his integrity, has died at the age of 88.

David Smith, who led the technical team at Oxfordshire Museums Service for 26 years, died last month after living with a heart condition for more than 40 years.

He is remembered for the significant role he played in at the county's museums - contributing to the collection and restoration of artefacts as well displays both temporary and permanent.

Mr Smith was born in Oxford on June 10, 1929.

One of seven siblings, he grew up in Standlake where he lived, in the same house, his entire life.

He attended Standlake Church of England School, leaving at the age of 14 in 1943 when he joined Pimms builders in Eynsham as an apprentice carpenter.

Mr Smith had a break between 1947 and 1949 while completing National Service in the RAF before returning to Pimms.

In 1951 he moved to Cantwell builders in Standlake where he worked on many houses in the village, Northmoor and the surrounding area, which he always talked about with great pride.

Mr Smith met his wife Fay in 1953 and they were married in 1956. They had two daughters: Adele, born in 1958 and Amanda, born in 1964.

He was appointed to the Oxfordshire Museums Service at Woodstock in 1967 in a role that would see him heading up the service’s technical team.

Mr Smith was soon involved in the collection and restoration of many Oxfordshire wagons as well as other agricultural equipment.

He also had a major input into all the permanent displays and temporary exhibitions in the original Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock, and later in all the other museums as the service expanded to Oxford, Banbury, Wantage, Abingdon and eventually Cogges, where his knowledge of gardening was invaluable in re-establishing the Edwardian garden.

Mr Smith was liked by everyone in the museum service, where he was valued for his willingness to share his knowledge, expertise and his sound advice, which was always delivered in a ‘distinctively gentlemanly style’.

He was respected by colleagues for his integrity and his technical and craft skills.

With his staff, he constructed numerous screens, stands and display cases with skill and ingenuity, working closely the curators of the museums.

Mr Smith would remain in his role until retiring in 1993.

He was closely involved with St Giles' Church in Standlake for many years. Mr Smith was also founder member and bass singer with the Standlake Singers for many years, entertaining the public and raising money for charity.

A keen singer, he was also a member of the Standlake Carol Singers who raised money every Christmas, touring the village over several evenings.

Mr Smith was also a keen gardener and enjoyed sharing his interest and knowledge of plants with anybody who expressed an interest.