As friends of former Helston music master George Shutter prepared to mark the fourth anniversary of his death they reached an agreement: 2018 would be the year for a lasting memorial to be created in his name.

This was back at Christmas and now fundraising is underway towards an oak bench being placed outside St Michael's Church, with a plaque remembering the talented musician who died on January 9, 2014 at the age of 79.

He was known to generations of students in Helston, teaching from 1961 until the late 1980s - first at Gwealhellis School, the secondary modern, and then when it combined with the town’s grammar school and the ‘Green School’ in Penrose Road he became head of music at the newly formed Helston School.

The location of the parish churchyard is not only just down the road from Helston Community College but reflects his role of relief organist for St Michael's - as well as for the town's Methodist and Catholic churches, plus being a regular organist at Wendron Church and RNAS Culdrose.

Mike Thomas, who is behind the project along with Isabell and Johnny Austin, told the Packet: "The location did once have a bench and its outlook onto the churchyard would be in-keeping with George's love of nature and of bird watching particularly. It seemed to me a natural place and when I consulted people there was agreement."

Mr Shutter was a keen walker and bird watcher who travelled to far flung places including Tahiti, Bora Bora and Easter Island to see rare birds, butterflies and flowers.

His love of nature was only matched by his love of music. A talented and versatile musician who played the organ, harpsichord, keyboard and harp, he got involved in almost all musical projects in the town – whether it was for Helston Theatre Company, Helston Methodist Church Drama Group or as rehearsal pianist for Helston Chamber Choir – plus further afield with the Miracle Theatre Company and Duchy Singers.

Both St Michael's Church and Helston Community College are understood to be fully behind the bench project, with the friends hoping to raise around £1,500 to commission a bench made in Cornwall, with the aim of having it in place by Flora Day.

Mr Thomas added: "I was aware quite a while back that a group of George's friends and former colleagues were keen for there to be a lasting memorial to him in the town. Unfortunately, nobody could come up with a suitable idea as the National Trust have got enough benches in the Penrose Estate and the bird hide project was not yet decided.

"In December after the carol service, Isabel and Johnny Austin and I agreed that something had to be started this year otherwise it would be too late."

To donate money to the cause there is a collection box at Gillian's Larder in Meneage Street. Alternatively contact Mr Thomas on 07879 277343, the reception at Helston Community College or Isabell Austin via Facebook.