A Wharfedale village says farewell on Saturday to one of its best known characters.

Burley-in-Wharfedale historian Frank Newbould died peacefully last Friday, ten days after suffering a stroke at his home in Burley Hall nursing home.

Friends have been paying tribute to the 92-year-old who just a month ago was still singing in the male voice choir at St Mary's Parish Church - 85 years after he joined as a boy.

It is at the church he worshipped all his life where friends will gather to pay their last respects before a private cremation at Rawdon.

Mr Newbould was born in 1913 and spent his early schooldays at Burley-in-Wharfedale C of E School where he returned in 1957 as its headmaster, a post he held for 16 years. He also was headmaster at Otley C of E School.

He took a break from teaching when he joined the army to fight for his country in the Second World War, but his military bosses released him for a short time so he could use his expertise to co-ordinate the evacuation of Bradford schoolchildren.

He led the very first evacuation of more than 200 city-dwelling youngsters to a specially designated camp school at Linton near Grassington in 1940.

Mr Newbould's friend Margaret Auty said: "Frank was a dignified man and until very recently was terrifically independent, even though he had been totally blind for the last 15 months.

"He was amazing for his age, a month ago he was still singing in the choir and just a few weeks ago had been to a rotary meeting.

"He had the stroke at Burley Hall home where he was a resident. He went to Airedale Hospital but never regained consciousness, he just slipped away. He would not have realised he was away from Burley at the end."

Mr Newbould had lifetime association with Otley Cricket Club as a player, past president and up to his death club patron.

He had not only been chairman of the former Otley Urban District Council, but also served on Burley-in-Wharfedale's Parochial Church Council and on Bradford Diocese's Deanery Synod.

In 1996 he met the Queen when he was chosen as a recipient of the Maundy Money at Bradford Cathedral.

"People knew Frank as Mr Burley. He loved the village and was a best friend to it. Although he didn't have any family of his own he had many friends here.

"My husband and I knew Frank for 17 years, he was like a father. Everyone will miss him," said Mrs Auty.

Mr Newbould was a member of Otley Rotary Club before joining Ilkley Rotary where he was president from 1975 to 1976 and his meeting attendance during all his years as a Rotarian was almost 100 per cent.

He was also well-known as a local historian and wrote several publications on Burley-in-Wharfedale's past and one on Ilkley Rotary Club to celebrate its 75th anniversary as well as a book about St Mary's Church.

Mr Newbould remembered gas lamps being in the village and the days when the 'knocker-up' did his rounds waking up the mill workers.

He also recalled the introduction of trolley buses, the trains running through to Otley and even horse- drawn wagonettes.

Mr Newbould will also be remembered at St Mary's Church for making a significant financial contribution to the rebuilding of its church organ and for his copper-plate style handwriting.

He wrote the entries in its memorial book and wrote St Mary's name in all its new hymnbooks.

Village vicar, the Rev Michael Burley, said: "Frank had a passion for the church as well as the village. In the two years I've been here, I don't think he ever missed a Sunday. He will leave a noticeable gap."

The funeral on Friday starts at 11am, donations in his memory will go to St Mary's Church Fund.