TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Lions president who also helped set up Ryedale Family History Group.

Geoff Otterburn died on February 15, following a short illness, aged 82.

Born in Helmsley, Geoff grew up in a farming family and after passing his 11-plus exam, he travelled by train to attend Lady Lumley’s Grammar School in Pickering, where he met his wife, Sheila.

The couple had two daughters Wendy and Lindsey and were married for 51 years until her death in 2011.

Geoff spent three yeas in the RAF travelling to Rhodesia and Aden. On return to the UK, he worked as a computer technician at RAF Fylingdales for 10 years and latterly as a project manager for Spectra-Tec. After early retirement in 2000, Geoff took up various interests, including tour guide at Duncombe Park and manager of Pickering Memorial Hall.

Geoff joined the Ryedale Lions Club in 1977 serving as president and secretary.

In 2017 he was honoured to become a Melvin Jones Fellow – the highest award in the Lions organisation.

In 2005 he was one of the founding members of the Ryedale Family History Group and latterly its treasurer. He was also an active member of St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Pickering

His daughter Wendy said: “Dad’s roots were firmly planted in the soil of North Yorkshire, he was a family man to the core, never happier than when he could organise or attend a family gathering.

“He had a keen sense of humour and was a passionate man; never one to do things by half and always a meticulous planner. He had wit, charm and an encyclopaedic knowledge of local people and places. He was, as one of his good friends said, “One of life’s good guys”.”

Geoff also leaves sons-in-law, Viv and Mark and grandchildren Arran and Erin.