MALMESBURY is mourning one of its best known characters.

Former town clerk Phil Rice, 76, knew almost everyone because he was involved in so many activities, from helping to form the youth football teams to being part of the team organising the annual Remembrance Day parade.

He was involved with the district community transport group and the league of friends

"A lot of what Phil did was for others. He was hugely committed to the groups and charities he became involved in, just quietly getting on with things," his family said. " Phil loved Malmesbury, and really did know just about everyone in town."

A true fan of sport, the Everton supporter loved football . He was active in the game right up until recently, taking up walking football.

"Phil would reminisce about going to watch Everton play when he was a young lad living on Merseyside, catching several buses, alone, despite being just eight years old! Phil even went to the World Cup final in 1966!."

Speedway was his sporting passion. He loved it so much he took his wife Jill to Sydney to watch a Grand Prix. He volunteered at the track in Swindon, and during lockdown enjoyed weekly zoom catch ups with the speedway lads.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Phil had a passion for speedway

But his real love was his family. He and Jill were married for nearly 46 years. They had two children, Martin and Emma, and two grandchildren, Sofia and Arlo.

"Phil is missed terribly, and his family would like to say a huge thank you for the overwhelming support they’ve received. For all the flowers, cards and messages, which have brought so much comfort."

Donations in memory of Phil in aid of Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund and Forever Friends for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Royal United Hospital, Bath sent c/o Matthews Independent Funeral Directors, 7 Burnham Road, Malmesbury, SN16 0BQ.