JAMES Coomber, a member of one of the best known business families in Worcester, has died at the aged of 68.

The Coomber company, which manufactures electronic equipment for schools, stretches back three generations and its name is familiar in educational establishments throughout the UK and abroad.

As well as his business profile, Mr Coomber was also a noted local sportsman and former president of Worcester Rugby Club.

"James was a well known Worcester citizen with long roots in the community , who contributed successfully in several fields of endeavour," said family friend and lawyer David Hallmark .

"On his mother’s side he was related to the Philips farming family of Church House Farm, Claines, who have been there about 100 years, and on his father’s side to FW Coomber who started his electronics business also about 100 years ago. Together with his brother Edward they ran this three generation manufacturing business producing a range of electronic equipment for the national and international education market. James was responsible for the manufacturing of their Coomber branded products, whereas Edward was focused on sales. This manufacturing business is one of huge local success and it has been quietly achieved without fanfare and publicity. James had a strong sense of responsibility for and concern for his working staff some of whom have only ever worked with Coombers."

Mr Coomber's education started at Wells Court , near Upton-upon Severn, and then Wells House prep-school at Malvern Wells. At Wells House he was captain of rugby and a school prefect. He then went to Cheltenham College.

After leaving school he started his career in electronics, first at Pye near Cambridge and then at RSRE in Malvern, before joining the family firm in the Tything, Worcester. It later moved to premises in the converted old cattle market at the bottom of The Butts in central Worcester and now operates from a modern factory in Brindley Road, Warndon, next to Worcester Bosch.

A rugged rugby player in his younger days and a regular member of Worcester RFC First XV in the amateur era, Mr Coomber also indulged in other sports, including rowing the Boat Race course at the 1995 Thames Head of the River race with the Worcester Rowing Club special training programme for new executive members. He also approached golf with vigour and was a keen member of Upper Sapey Golf Club and of the international golf touring group with Tony Halford and his Sultans.

He married Lindsay Robinson in 1971 and the couple, who lived at Cradley, near Malvern had a son Sam and daughter Kate and recently their first grandchild Duncan.

The family will make private arrangements for the cremation, but will welcome friends at a Thanksgiving Service on Friday , April 11 at 1.00pm at Cradley Church.