TRIBUTES have been paid to a long-serving teacher and parish councillor after he lost a brave battle with cancer.

John Stonebridge was a science teacher and later head of physics at schools in Carlisle for 35 years, 10 of those at Trinity School. He also spent six years as a lecturer in Geology at Carlisle Technical College.

Outside of work, he was a parish councillor for four years and, later, chairman of Burgh by Sands Parish Council for 13 years.

John also enlisted in the Fourth King's Own Royal Border Regiment of the Territorial Army, and saw service during the Foot and Mouth crisis and both Cumbrian floods. He later joined the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

He rose to the rank of Commandant (Colonel) also worked on security at the annual party political conferences in Manchester and at the 2012 Olympic Games, as well as postings in Kenya, Uganda, Canada, and Germany.

Many of his former military colleagues contacted his widow with tributes to John following his death.

John was born to Frances and Eberhard Steinbrucker in Wetheral in 1954. His father was diagnosed with cancer shortly afterwards, and died when he was just three years old.

He as then brought up in the countryside with his grandparents, Mort and Ella Atkinson. He loved exploring the fields and fells, and developed a lifelong love of wildlife, fauna, and flora.

Later, he moved to Carlisle with his mother and brother Peter to attend Stanwix Junior School, before progressing to Carlisle Grammar School.

Once he was finished his school career, he sought new horizons and left Cumbria for Kingston Upon Thames and Kingston Polytechnic to study Applied Science with the Earth Sciences option.

It was there, in Autumn 1976, he went to a disco at Gypsy Hill College and, as the last man standing after a "particularly frantic" night, he met his future wife, Vivienne, an English and Drama student.

After gaining his Honours Degree he returned to Carlisle to work for the family structural engineering firm for two years until Kingston-Upon-Thames beckoned again and he returned for a PGCE. After a brief spell as Head of Physics at a Surrey school, John returned with Viv to Carlisle in 1982 to teach

John and Viv were married on August 61983 in Littleover, Derby and honeymooned in Dovedale and Paris.

They made their home in the Old Post Office in Burgh By Sands, and in 1997, John became a father to William John Stonebridge, and was besotted by him from the off.

Describing her husband, Viv said: "He was very loving, very supportive, with a great sense of humour - a naughty sense of humour which kept us entertained, and which he passed to his son.

"John was very thoughtful, very attentive. With all that was going on in his life, he was often away. I've been a drama teacher for decades and that engaged me while he was away - but we were very supportive of each when together.

That was how our marriage went. We appreciated each others different interests and shared some common interests.

"We had a common interest in our son, William, spending all the time we could with him and watching him develop."

During his time as a teacher, John manage of the alternative curriculum for challenging pupils.

Viv added: "John was very interested in people and seeing people come up and make a good go of life. That was very very important to him.

"People that had a really difficult start in life, if you're consistent and fair, and can use humour, you can make connections with those people more often than not.

"He would help them find talents and skills they didn't know they had, he was very keen for individuals to make the right choices and better themselves."

John sadly passed away at the Cumberland Infirmary on Thursday, April 1 at the age of 66, following a battle with cancer. He was laid to rest at St Cuthbert's Church at Dufton on Friday, April 16.

Viv added: "He was amazingly courages and just carried on. You could see he was in pain, but he didn't make any fuss. He was remarkably brave, very resistant.

"On the night he died, one of the neighbours said his was a life well led - I thought that was fitting."