MORE than £2,000 has been raised for charity in memory of John Wheeler, the former policeman and driving instructor, who died in a road accident.

Nearly 700 people, some standing, packed St Michael and All Angels' Church in Summertown on Thursday, for a thanksgiving service in his memory.

The service took place after a private family funeral at Oxford Crematorium, and attendees were invited to give donations to two charities Mr Wheeler supported.

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One of the charities that will benefit is the Broken Spoke Bike Co-op, based in Osney Lane, Oxford, which teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to ride and repair bicycles.

The other is FarmAbility, based at Wytham, an outdoor, farm-based programme for people with learning disabilities and autism.

Mr Wheeler, 75, of Manor Way, Kidlington, died when his motorcycle and a car collided on the B4494 near Catmore, Berkshire, on March 26.

He was the youngest police constable to be appointed in the city when he joined Oxford City Police at the age of 19.

He rose through the ranks to become an inspector at the Thames Valley Police traffic base at Bicester before retiring from the force in 1992 after 32 years’ service.

He later ran a driving school for more than 20 years, teaching hundreds of car drivers and motorcyclists how to stay safe on the roads.

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After his death, hundreds of people shared memories of him on social media, hailing him a ‘legend’ and a ‘perfect gentleman’.

The thanksgiving service, conducted by the vicar, the Rev Gavin Knight, included a eulogy from the family, a poem from Mr Wheeler’s brother, Julian, and recorded classical music by guitarist Jonathan Wiseman.

In a statement, the family said of their loss: “It has been incredibly tough but wonderful and uplifting to think that so many people have been supporting us.

“We have received more than 300 sympathy cards and we can’t thank people enough.

“We would particularly like to thank the Rev Gavin Knight, Darren Jeffs from Sandra Homewood Funeral Services, and Jas Singh for providing transport to the cremation and thanksgiving service.”

Mr Wheeler leaves his wife Sue, brother Julian, daughters Rachel, Claire and Catherine, son Stephen and nine grandchildren.