A CIVIC and arts campaigner Robert Hutchison has died after a short illness.

Mr Hutchison, 76, was the founder of Winchester Action on Climate Change and was also the founder and first chairman of Winchester Poetry Festival in 2014.

He was a Liberal Democrat city councillor and had spent a career in the arts setting up the Wilfred Owen Association.

Mr Hutchison, of Clifton Road, Oram's Arbour, was chief executive of Southern Arts, and of Oxford Inspires.

Winchester city councillor Lucille Thompson, leader of the Lib Dem group, said: "It is a hugely sad loss for everyone on the council. He contributed to Winchester life fully for a number of years. He was a huge influence on how Winchester has been developing.

"It's incredibly sad. His death has shocked us all and he will be greatly missed."

A statement on the Winchester Poetry Festival website said: "Using a combination of vision, elegant intellectual argument, personal warmth and a willingness to lead by example, Robert was a persuasive champion. A skilled and engaging public speaker, he wore his erudition lightly, though he enjoyed spontaneously reciting by heart his favourite poems.

"Robert was delighted with the public response to the festival in 2014 and again in 2016, and was hugely supportive of everyone involved in making these events such a success – volunteers, staff, festival Friends and trustees. He knew how important it was to show commitment and was busy working up a new fundraising initiative at the time of his death.

"We will all miss his generosity of spirit, determination, great good humour – laughter was always on the menu when Robert was present – and his sheer enthusiasm. Winchester Poetry Festival would not have come about without Robert, but it will continue to draw inspiration from his memory."

The funeral will be at The United Church, Jewry Street, Winchester SO23 8RZ on Thursday October 12 at 3pm. All welcome.

No flowers. Enquiries or donations, if desired, to Campaign Against the Arms Trade, WinACC or Winchester Poetry Festival to Richard Steel & Partners, Alderman House, 12-14 City Road, Winchester SO23 8SD or made online at www.rsponline.co.uk.