THE family of Richard Fox, an Honorary Freeman of Wellington, have paid tribute to him following his death after a short illness, aged 85, at Musgrove Park Hospital on Boxing Day.


Ben and Victoria Fox said: "Richard was such a kind, heart-warming, genuine, inspirational Wellington man.

"He was so genuinely interested in other people's lives.

"If you told him you supported a certain football team, in my case Arsenal, he would go out of his way to keep up with their progress and report back and ask searching questions - always keeping you firmly on your toes."

Richard Fox was the only son of Harry and Edna Fox.

Like his father and grandfather, Francis Hugh, Richard was educated at Marlborough College.

He then completed his education at Cambridge University where he graduated in maths, which he taught at Westminster and Blundell's.

He gave up teaching and returned to Wellington when his father became very ill to help his mother look after him.

Although Richard never worked for Fox Brothers, he had an extensive knowledge of the mills and family history.

Ben said: "I loved the way he would ring people up on their birthdays and sing happy birthday down the phone and then turn up on your doorstep with a packet of cheese or box of biscuits - always bought in Wellington.

"We have received so many truly lovely messages since he became ill and subsequently after his death.

"The emails and text messages have been so inspiring because he was so very caring about so many things, so many subjects and so many people.

"He was very deeply loved by many, many people.

"Richard would never judge a person or really any situation or event - whether we were family member, a neighbour or a friend at one of the many many organisations, charities he was involved in from Wellington and Taunton flower shows, the groups associated with Wellington In Bloom, Basins, Gardening Club, Friends of Wellington Park, Wellington History, Wellington Camera Club, Wellington Arts Centre, all the local sports clubs and the ‘other’ Fox Bros & Co mill at Uffculme - the much supported, Coldharbour Mill.

"We were all seemingly made to feel very special by him with such genuine interest, encouragement and support."

His great love was rugby but he also supported hockey, football, cricket and other sports in Wellington.

His many loves ranged from the railways to Dartmoor, to the mountains of Switzerland and the wider alpine regions, the new Okehampton and Lynton railways and the Wellington line and its claim to fame - the first train to top 100mph down from Whiteball in 1904.

Ben added: "He will be sadly missed yet easily remembered for his endearing, often slightly mischievous, smile.

"That 'very Richard’ backward wave and hands clasped behind his back, often clasping a plastic bag, full of a diary, an interesting book or a small gift for someone."