A HEALTH governor and former leading figure in Oxfordshire banking has died aged 76.

Geoffrey Forster was the president of the Institute of Bankers for the Oxford Area in 1988-89 during a long career working for Lloyds bank.

In his later years he served as a governor of the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust for three years.

Described as 'a real gentleman', Mr Forster previously helped to raise the £17m needed to build the Oxford Children's Hospital which opened in 2007.

He joined the Council of Governors, hoping to, in his own words, 'help if anything in my background could add value.'

Before becoming a advocate for healthcare, Mr Forster spent 42 years working for Lloyds Bank, joining the company aged 18.

His first branch was in King Street, Manchester and he moved to Devon following the retirement of his father, Chief Engineer William Redvers Forster, from the Merchant Navy in 1960 and worked in branches in Exeter and Exmouth.

In 1981 he became the manager of the Wantage Branch and moved with his family to Uffington where he lived until his death.

In his 20 years working in Oxfordshire, Mr Forster enjoyed various roles including managing the Carfax Oxford branch. He finished his career as the corporate manager for Oxfordshire, working from the bank's offices in Botley.

After retiring from banking in 2001, he then travelled extensively in the Middle East where he ran a team quoting for a contract in Qatar to design, build and run a science park for the government.

A lover of travel, Mr Forster spent much of his retirement in his motor boat which he took across the channel and spent three summers travelling the canals and rivers of France.

Mr Forster was born in Harrogate on the July 4 1941, the youngest of three brothers.

At an early age the family moved to Stockport where he became a life long supporter of Manchester United football club.

From the age of seven, he joined his middle brother William as a boarder at Russell School in Croydon.

He met wife Fay whilst in Exeter and the couple were married for nearly 54 years.

They had two children who were born in Frimley Cottage Hospital near Camberley whilst he served on the inspection staff with Lloyds, attached to Head Office in Lombard Street, London.

A keen golfer and singer, Mr Forster was a member of Frilford Heath Golf Club and the Oxford Welsh Male Voice Choir.

He died at the John Radcliffe Hospital on November 21.

His funeral was held on Tuesday December 12 at St. Mary's Church in Uffington which was followed by a tea at the Thomas Hughes Memorial Hall in the village.

He is survived by his wife Fay, his brother William, his son David and daughter Sarah and four grandchildren.