TRIBUTES have been paid to a renowned scientist and great-grandfather who was a founding member of Colchester’s YMCA.

Dr John Knight died peacefully in his sleep at home in Colchester at the age of 87.

A resident of Colchester for almost 50 years, Dr Knight was well-known for his contribution to education in the town as well as his work with various church and charity groups.

He was born in Liverpool in 1933, attending grammar school before studying part-time whilst working for the Dunlop Company.

He graduated as an Associate of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1965 and received his Phd from Nottingham University.

After undertaking post-doctoral research in his home city, he went on to lecture at Loughborough College and Leeds Carnegie College before moving to Colchester in 1973.

He spent 20 years as head of science and maths at Colchester Institute, during which time he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

A committed Christian, Dr Knight was an elder at Maldon Road Chapel and a member of Stanway Evangelical Church.

Due to his faith and youth work, he became a founding member of Colchester’s YMCA, which he was chairman of for 15 years.

His commitment to education also saw him spend 40 years as a governor for Alderman Blaxill School in Colchester.

Dr Knight was an active member of Grey Friars Guild and Colchester Probus where he regularly gave lectures to members.

His passion for American culture saw him undertake a pilgrimage to all 50 states at the age of 80.

He is survived by his wife, Mavis, and three children, Sharon, Cherith and Stephen.

Sharon said: “We have been amazed as a family at the number of people who have commented on the impact he made on their lives.

“He certainly made a big impression on all of his eight grandchildren with whom he corresponded regularly.

“He was proud of them together with his 11 great-grandchildren.

"He was a man of huge intellect, but made each person he met feel special.

"He was a wonderful husband and father and will be missed by us all.”