TRIBUTES have been paid to a long-serving and popular quizmaster whose efforts raised thousands of pounds for Walton and Frinton RNLI.

Born and bred Waltonian John Rayner died last month, aged 70, after suffering a heart attack.

The retired printer will be remembered for his community spirit, his family say, having been an enthusiastic supporter of the RNLI, chairman of Walton and District Allotment Association and member of the town’s indoor bowling club.

Grandfather-of-two Mr Rayner leaves behind his wife of 41 years, Annette, treasurer of the district RNLI, and their two sons.

Sister-in-law Miranda Rayner, who is married to his brother Gerald, said: “John will be remembered as a really kind man, for his cheerfulness and willingness to be involved in the community and help people.

“It was really the example set by his parents, councillor Percy and Olive, which made him so community-minded. He was very proud of the town.

“Doing the monthly quizzes for the RNLI became his retirement hobby but he’d been running them annually for at least 25 years, and had also hosted some for the MS Society.

“John just loved helping out and was awarded several times by the RNLI for his fundraising efforts.”

Mr Rayner was the eldest of three brothers who grew up above the family toy shop in Walton High Street.

Miranda said: “After the family let go of the toy shop, they opened and ran the Blenheim House Hotel for many years, which then became a care home.”

His early life consisted of many sports including marathons and football.

Brother Gerald said: “John first played for the Kirby Dynamoes in the late Sixties and then went on to play a very prominent part in Walton Town before becoming club president.”

During his career, he was named the top printing apprentice in the country.

Mr Rayner later developed an interest in travel which inspired talks to local groups and for him to publish his own poetry and travel books.

Philip Oxley, of PG Oxley Funeral Directors, grew up with Mr Rayner.

He was best man at the Rayner’s wedding and will conduct his funeral.

The pair had been close friends for more than 60 years.

He said: “It’s been a terrible shock.

“We played football and went to school together.

"John was well respected and loved. He was very reliable, a good friend and always there.”