TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of a retired teacher who taught at a Burnley high school for more than 30 years.

Thomas Chaffer, who died earlier this month, aged 76, was a Geography master at Towneley High School for 33 years and also taught at Burnley College.

Mr Chaffer, who leaves wife Mary, 76, and two sons, Christopher and Richard, also had an active retirement after leaving the school in 1994, rediscovering his early love of drawing and learning foreign languages.

His son Richard, 35, said: “I think dad was perfectly suited to being a teacher. He had a gentle, tolerant nature and treated everyone as equals.

“He also used to enjoy injecting humour into his teaching and loved cracking jokes.

“Everyone who has spoken to me about him since his death has described as a 'true gent'.

“In recent years he has returned to an early love and hobby of his, drawing.

“He enjoyed drawing people around Burnley, in particular Ightenhill for a number of years, capturing the various charactersand musicians at the local clubs and pubs.

“He also learned Italian and German, which was some achievement for someone of his years.”

Mr Chaffer was also well known in the area because his father owned an off-licence in the Wood Top area of Burnley, which he kept running during his early teaching career.

In later life he was secretary of Burnley West Probus Club.

Mr Chaffer’s funeral service will be held at St Peters Church, Burnley, at noon on Monday, December 31.