A FORMER mayor of Didcot, who served the community as a councillor and school governor, has died.

Pete Read, who was 79, was mayor in 2012/13 and lived in the town for 30 years.

He worked at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Harwell and was dedicated to educating schoolchildren in the sciences.

Pete Read was born on January 22, 1940 in Plymouth.

He was the youngest of five children to parents William and May, with his dad and oldest brother, also called William, serving in the Royal Navy.

Read again: Former Oxfordshire cricketer has died

The Second World War moulded his early years and in 1941 the family home was bombed by the Nazis.

Pete and his family were evacuated to Truro, although they returned to Plymouth when the war was over.

As a teenager, he spent his secondary school years in Plymouth, even after the family moved to a small nearby village, named Bere Ferrers.

Mr Read remained in the area after leaving school and completed a degree in electronics engineering at Plymouth University.

In 1965, he married Margaret Owen in Bere Ferrers, after the pair met at a village dance some years before.

Read again: Man who designed world's oldest working computer has died

The couple had two children in the years that followed, with Simon born in 1966 and Claire arriving in 1968.

Mr Read's first job was in Surrey, where he was put to task making radar systems.

But in the late 1960s, he took a role as an experimental scientist at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, based in the stunning grounds of Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex.

The scientist designed equipment that was used by astronomers and this took him and his family to the South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town, from 1976 to 1980.

After returning from Cape Town, he went back to Herstmonceux, before moving to Didcot when he transferred to RAL in 1989.

Read again: Obituary - former Oxfam director

Continuing a project he began in Sussex, Mr Read began in the space science department, tracking satellites that measured the surface temperature of the earth.

He later worked on a project that studied how much radiation came back off the earth from the sun.

Mr Read retired in 2006, by which time he had already thrown himself into the community.

He had already been a governor at Greenmere primary school, where he helped organise open days for the children at RAL.

Read again: 101-year-old economics professor made Oxford his home

In the mid 2000s, Mr Read became a town councillor, a perfect fit for someone so dedicated to Didcot.

He sat on the council's environmental committee and helped open Didcot Skate Park in Ladygrove.

Mr Read supported Oxfordshire mental health charity Restore, while he championed the benefits of gardens and allotments and helped secure spaces in Fleet Meadow for the organisation.

After a year as mayor in 2012/13, he remained on the town council until falling ill.

Mr Read suffered from melanoma for the last three years of his life and died at Sobell House hospice on April 20.

A celebration of his life took place at Didcot Civic Hall on Saturday, with six former mayors in attendance. Mr Read is survived by his wife and children.