A MAN who was one of three trustees who helped set up the Bradford City fire charitable trust has died peacefully after a short illness at the age of 91.

Gerald Hodges came to Ilkley from Sussex in 1970 to be treasurer for the former Ilkley Urban District Council.

When boundary changes came into force in 1974 he became director of finance at Bradford Council where he remained until he retired in June 1985.

He also became honorary treasurer of the University of Bradford.

During World War Two Mr Hodges served as a telegraphist in the Royal Navy between 1943 and 1946.

He became a veteran of the Arctic convoys, sailing on HMS Tracker escorting convoys to Russia. At the end of the war he served on HMS Zest, part of the Royal Navy squadron stationed in Kiel.

Three years ago his son, Michael, an organist in London, collected the Ushakov Medal, presented to Arctic convoy veterans, from the Embassy of the Russian Federation, in London, and presented it to his father.

A keen ornithologist and gardener, Mr Hodges continued to live in Victoria Avenue, in Ilkley, where he maintained a pristine garden. He was also a regular member of the congregation at St Margaret's Church, in Ilkley.

"My father was really very sharp in mind and looked after himself almost right up to the end. He spent only a week in care in Burley Hall before he died," said Michael.

"Prior to going into Burley Hall, my father had spent a short time in Sue Ryder, Manorlands, in respite, but did return home and received fantastic support from the nurses," he added.

Another son, Colin, died in 1975 from leukaemia at the age of 18. Mr Hodges' wife, Betty, died in 2004.

Mr Hodges was instrumental in setting up the trust fund that supported people involved in the Bradford City stadium fire on May 11, 1985.

Mr Hodges, along with the Council's then chief executive Gordon Moore and Bradford lawyer Roger Suddards, set up a discretionary charitable trust for the Disaster Appeal within days and at the close of the fund the following year, had been able to pay out more than £4.25 million to 400 people.

The cost of administering the fund was kept at one per cent of the total. The three trustees were not paid.

Michael added: "He was very proud of the work the trustees did in setting up the fund and which itself became a template for subsequent disasters that occurred - capsizing of the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry at Zeebrugge, the Alpha Piper oil rig fire in the North Sea, the King's Cross tube station fire and the 1989 Hillsborough disaster - knowing so many people had been helped financially.

"He often gave talks about it to Probus and luncheon clubs."

A funeral service is to take place at St Margaret's Church, Ilkley, on Wednesday, May 3, at 2.30pm.

A collection is being made for Sue Ryder Manorlands hospice.