A "TRULY lovely man" who spent his life supporting St Keverne will next week be remembered by the village that "meant everything" to him.

Derek Kevern died last Friday from a stroke and his passing will leave a large hole in the community.

His funeral will be held at St Keverne Church on Friday, May 4 at 2.30pm. A retiring collection will be taken in aid of the Friends of St Keverne Health Centre and donations can also be made via Pendle Funeral Services. The service will be followed by a gathering at the parish hall.

His son, also called Derek, said on behalf of his other son Pip and the whole family: "He was truly a lovely man and so kind and caring to all - the village meant everything to him.

"Someone said to us that he would be off to a better place, but in his eyes there is no better place than St Keverne. I’m sure he’ll still be keeping an eye on it.

"We’re just absolutely gutted that he’s no longer with us."

A true Cornish character, the 84-year-old was something of a figurehead for the village, which led to him opening the first St Keverne Farmers' Market in January 2016.

It would be hard to find a village organisation that Derek was not involved with in some way.

Having played the cornet with St Keverne Band for many years, he continued to support it and help out at its many events, including the annual St Keverne Ox Roast and band pig roast, where he always auctioned off the first few slices. Derek could often be relied up to step in as auctioneer when one was called for, including at Helston and St Keverne Young Farmers' Club events.

He spent his working life farming at Penare Barton Farm, until his retirement in 2013, when he moved up into the village with his wife Zoe, to a house in Laddenvean.

Due to his agricultural background, he was on the committee of Helston Fatstock Show and was fond of vintage tractors.

Derek was part of the Good Companions Club, president of Kerrier Choir - previously known as St Keverne Choir - and chairman of the village bowls club, for which he was also a player. As a result he was a staunch supporter of the parish hall and only a matter of weeks ago was appealing for more people to help run it.

For the last 21 years he had been been an active member of St Keverne Parish Council, which he joined in April 1997.

One of his main projects was the creation of the St Keverne charity car park, close to the band room in Lemon Street. He would collect the donations from the honesty box daily, recording the amounts down, and was often disappointed that so few people appeared to be leaving money despite the number of cars parked there.

He was conscientious in bringing matters to the council that people had raised with him, including in the rural hamlets such as Traboe and Penare.

Parish council chairman Roger Richards said: "He was a great character and will be very sadly missed by the whole of the council. We wish his family well at this time."