Edwin Townsend-Coles, a former chairman of Oxford Civic Society, has died aged 80.

The former education consultant, who lived in Iffley village, Oxford, set up the Oxfordshire blue plaque scheme, which recognises buildings of historic note.

Mr Townsend-Coles was the first secretary of the plaque committee and Hugo Brunner, the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, is president.

Mr Brunner said: "It's now a very well established scheme. It's going strong. He was certainly a great character who did much for Oxford."

Civic Society chairman Tony Joyce described Mr Townsend-Coles as a "great guy who did a lot for this city". He added: "Edwin was chairman of the society from 1983 to 2000, and under his dynamic leadership, membership increased from 300 to 750.

"He was a passionate believer in making the city a better and more attractive place. He represented the civic society on a wide range of other bodies and was a tireless champion of such causes as the Oxford Transport Strategy, and the development of the Castle site.

"Edwin was a delightful and generous host and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him and had the pleasure of working with him."

After gaining a geography degree at Durham University, Mr Townsend-Coles's work as an education consultant took him around the globe.

A specialist in adult literacy, he worked in Rhodesia for the YMCA and for the Institute of Adult Education, before returning to England in 1965.

He got a job as an adult education adviser at Rewley House in Oxford and set up home in Iffley, where his family have lived ever since.

His daughter Caroline said: "When someone new arrived in the village, mum and dad would hold a party, so that people could get to know them," she added.

Later, Mr Townsend-Coles worked for Unesco (United Nations educational, science and cultural organisation) and went to Botswana, Paris, Greece and Afghanistan.

Mr Townsend-Coles had been suffering liver cancer and stayed at Sobell House in Oxford for three weeks before his death on July 25.

His wife Jane also received care at the hospice before her death from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2001.

Mr Townsend-Coles's funeral service, which took place at St Mary's Church, Iffley, on August 2, was followed by a family gathering in the garden of his home.