A COMMUNITY stalwart who died after suffering a suspected heart attack on a beach has been described as a "wonderful man" by close friends.
Howard Roberts, who lived at Trethevey Farm in Lanlivery, died on Wednesday last week at a Gorran Haven beach.
He was strolling along Vault Beach, enjoying the Cornish sunshine, when he collapsed.
Despite efforts by fellow beachgoers and the emergency services – including Mevagissey and St Austell coastguard rescue teams, Fowey RNLI lifeboat and a rescue helicopter – he died at the scene.
A South West Ambulance Service Trust spokeswoman said it is believed he died from a heart attack and police are now dealing with the incident.
Originally from Wales, Mr Roberts moved to Cornwall about 40 years ago and has played an active role in the community since.
As well as acting as head of Lanlivery Parish Council, Mr Roberts had been a church warden, a county councillor, taught rural studies at Fowey Community College, was involved in St Austell Rugby Club, Lostwithiel Gentleman's Luncheon Club, performance group the Lanlivery Loonies, and was a staunch supporter of the church.
He celebrated his 75th birthday in June, with a party at his family home.
"The small rural community of Lanlivery is in deep mourning this week," said parish council clerk Sally Vincent.
"Howard was at the centre of everything.
"He was a longstanding chairman who organised an endless list of fundraising events and always entertained everybody with his humour and wit."
Vice-chairman Morley Richards, who will step into the role of chairman temporarily, added: "What can I say about Howard? He was a man and a half.
"He came up with some brilliant ideas over the years to raise money for the church."
As a fan of The Archers, Mr Roberts celebrated an anniversary of the radio show by transforming Lanlivery into Ambridge, where it was set, for the day, attracting camera crews from as far away as Canada.
"He was a really lovely guy and we will miss him terribly," said Mr Richards. "I can't believe he's gone to be honest."
Mr Roberts leaves behind wife Verna and children Dana, Ben and Kay.
His family thanked everyone for their thoughts and prayers.
Ms Vincent added: "Howard was a wonderful man and we have all been so lucky to have had him live amongst us.
"Now he is gone, Lanlivery will never be quite the same again."