TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular band member of the Newton Abbot Salvation Army who died suddenly.

Brian Packer, of Chudleigh Knighton, died at the age of 76.

Fellow Salvation Army members remembered him fondly at a service of thanksgiving held at the Salvation Army Hall in Newton Abbot.

Brian, who returned to the organisation following the death of his mother, was described as a ‘loyal and faithful’ member of the corps ‘family’.

For many years, he played the cornet as a ‘valued member’ of the South Western Divisional Fellowship Band, travelling around the county and to Bristol for rehearsals and concerts.

He worked as a polisher at Centrax in Newton Abbot and after being made redundant, travelled away from the area in his camper van for work.

It was during a work trip to Andover he met his wife Val who moved with him to Chudleigh Knighton where they were happily married for many years until her death five years ago.

He had cared for her with ‘love and affection’ in difficult times.

Brian was known for his love of gardening, growing a variety of fruit and vegetables which he loved to share with others.

He was also described as a man with a ‘great sense of humour’.

One friend recalled: ‘Brian was deaf and often his hearing aids would be buzzing.

‘I would lean over to him and ask if his hearing aids were working.

‘Are they buzzing, he would ask, yes, I would reply and he said, that’s good they are working then.

‘He couldn’t hear the buzz.’

It was said Brian would usually be the first to arrive at the Salvation Army Hall on Sundays, giving him the chance for a chat and a cup of tea.

He loved to share reading and when he spoke, his Devonian accent would become more pronounced.

Mourners heard he was ‘committed, loyal, loving’ and a ‘good and faithful servant’ who would be sadly missed.