THE Bournemouth historian John Walker, renowned for his knowledge of his adopted home town, has died at the age of 82.

Mr Walker, who died suddenly at his East Cliff home, has been remembered as “lovely”, “enthusiastic” and passionate about the resort.

His work leading guided walks in Bournemouth helped earn him the trophy for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism at the first Bournemouth Tourism Awards in 2006.

He was a committee member of Bournemouth Civic Society and a board member of the Lower Gardens Trust, as well as an active member of St Peter’s Church.

Bournemouth council leader Cllr John Beesley said: “This is very sad news. John Walker was well known in many areas of public life in Bournemouth, especially as a stalwart of the civic society and St Peter’s church and he will be greatly missed by his many friends throughout the town."

Ken Mantock, chairman of the Civic Society, said: “He was someone who was absolutely passionately in love with the town.”

He said Mr Walker was excited about Bournemouth’s future as well as its past. “He was a wonderful guy, a real character and always wanted to be at the centre of things going on,” he added.

Former Daily Echo photographer and social historian Hattie Miles said Mr Walker was a great help when she was setting up her Walkingtalks guided tours.

She said: “John was a lovely, enthusiastic and hugely knowledgeable man.

"I will certainly miss visiting him to go through my routes and information. He would invariably send me home with a bundle of notes with such tiny writing that sometimes I would have to return to ask him to decipher what he’d written.

“He was always delighted if I knew something about the town he didn’t already know – it didn’t happen very often. I’ll really miss him.”

John Walker went to Portsmouth Grammar School but was evacuated to Bournemouth School during the war.

He served for 30 years in the Army, retiring as a major, before working at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall. He and his second wife, Jacquie, had a flat overlooking Bournemouth Square and retired to the town in 2000.

Mrs Walker said he was devoted to Bournemouth. “He really adored it," she said.

"Everything about Bournemouth thrilled him and he just couldn’t do enough to communicate it."