A FORMER headteacher, rambler and countryside volunteer in Torfaen, who was awarded an MBE after working tirelessly in the community for 30 years, has died.

Derrick Hynam, 88, died peacefully on New Year’s Day, at Nevill Hall Hospital after a long illness.

Mr Hynam, from Garndiffaith, became the Honorary President of Pontypool Ramblers after leading the group in the role of chairman for 30 years.

The group’s treasurer, Margaret Stagg, said that he was the face of rambling in Pontypool.

She said: “He was charismatic, a great leader, would arrange trips and get everyone involved.

“We’ve lost a great friend.”

The group’s current chairman Alan Cunningham took over from Mr Hynam about six years ago.

He said: “He was a great chairman and was well known locally; he was very involved and also volunteered clearing footpaths and doing repairs.”

Torfaen Council’s senior countryside access officer, Mark Panniers, worked closely with Mr Hynam who volunteered with Torfaen’s Countryside Access Volunteers since 1996 and with Gwent County Council for many years before that.

He said: “Derrick willingly gave up his free time to assist the countryside rangers in carrying out improvements to the public rights of way network and used his extensive knowledge to advise the council on countryside access issues.

“His input has been sorely missed since he was forced to retire from both roles in 2010 due to ill health, and our thoughts and sympathies go to his family at this time.”

Mr Hynam leaves behind his wife, Sheelah, children Jeffrey, Janet and Jocelyn, and grandchildren David, Samantha, Sian, Richard, Rebecca, Matthew and Sarah.

His funeral will take place on January 20 at St Cadoc’s Church, Trevethin at noon, followed by cremation at Gwent Crematorium at 1.30pm.

All are welcome to join the family at the Parkway Hotel, Cwmbran for refreshments after the service.