TRIBUTES have been paid to a much-loved teacher and all-round sportsman who later played a key role in launching a new political party.

Vic Gethin, from Farnworth, was known to generations of pupils, having taught in the borough’s schools from the early 70s, including Brownlow Fold and County Grammar where he was head of PE.

Later he taught at Harper Green School, and St James, where he became special needs co-ordinator.

The grandfather of three excelled at a range of sports, playing for Farnworth Cricket Club as a medium-paced to fast bowler as well as being an enthusiastic footballer for Ainsworth Arrows.

And the Farnworth-raised family man was an excellent table tennis player who won several competitions.

He was married to Cynthia with whom he had three daughters, Victoria, Catherine and Emma.

He died, aged 68, after a short battle with cancer surrounded by his loved ones.

Emma said: “Dad died very early on Sunday morning at Bolton Hospice after a very sudden deterioration in his illness.

“He was surrounded by his wife and girls and we will be forever heartbroken at the loss of the greatest husband, dad and granddad we could wish for.

“A caring, loyal, devoted, well respected gentleman. He also had the best dry sense of humour. His family were everything to him.”

There has also been an overwhelming response to Mr Gethin’s death after it was announced on social media, with ex-pupils describing him as an ‘inspirational teacher’ and ‘a legend’.

Mr Gethin was also a founding member and treasurer of Farnworth and Kearsely First, which won its first seat last week. On being told of the news, Mr Gethin said: “’Smashin’”

Peter Flitcroft, leader of the party, said the election victory was dedicated to Mr Gethin. He added : “Vic will be fondly remembered around Farnworth and Kearsley for his passion for the towns’ people, their lives and their stories.

“He will be deeply missed by us and many others.