Tributes have been paid to a former teacher who led guided tours around Malmesbury Abbey.

Cyril Pennington who taught at Chipping Sodbury School for over 30 years passed away aged 93, on Saturday, August 17.

He taught Physical Education at the then Chipping Sodbury Grammar School from 1954 until 1985 and was the first qualified teacher of boy's PE in the school's history.

After undertaking his teacher training at Loughborough College he taught in Walthamstow in London.

He then moved to Downend and then to a small Wiltshire village just before his retirement.

One of his colleagues at the school, Mel Jeffries, said: "He was a very well-respected teacher, both by his colleagues and the pupils.

"He was the ‘master’ of balancing the teaching of sports techniques, utilising these newly acquired techniques in skill development but at the same time developing high levels of physical fitness.

"The physical education programme he established was recognised by many as the ‘dream model’ and throughout Gloucestershire and surrounding counties, he was highly-respected as a teacher with a number of special talents."

A keen and successful hurdler in his younger days, Mr Pennington continued to teach Physical Education well into the 1970’s and later transferred his skills to the teaching of Mathematics.

He became a housemaster and during the last few years of his teaching career was joint-head of Upper School.

He retired in 1985 and this gave him the opportunity for many other talents to flourish – reading and writing poetry, studying literature, acting in outdoor Shakespearian productions as well as on the indoor stage, painting, sketching, taking visitors on guided tours around Malmesbury Abbey and being a very active contributor to the life of the village where he lived.

He also regularly attended the Annual Summer School Courses at Marlborough College.

In his younger days he was an outstanding athlete and he competed in the National Decathlon Championships in 1951.

Prior to this he was a member of the British team that took part in the 1949 Lingiad in Stockholm.

This was an International Exhibition of Sport and Physical Culture, with the central theme revolving around gymnastics.

He also represented British Universities and the Midland Counties athletics team.

Locally he competed for a Bristol Club until his late thirties.

He was also a very good basketball player, playing his last game at the age of fifty.

Ski-ing was another of his passions and he organised many school trips abroad providing lifetime memories for the pupils who took part.

"Mr Pennington maintained his love of sport right to the end of his life," Mr Jeffries continued.

"Like me, many of his former pupils will have great memories of him as teacher and the influence he had upon our lives.

"He was a lovely and remarkable man - one of the great characters of the ‘Old School'.

Cyril lost his wife in 2011, and is survived by his two daughters and a son.