A MAN who helped to shape Evesham’s contribution to the arts for decades was laid to rest on Wednesday.

Lauri Griffith-Jones was a co-founder and first president of the Evesham Arts Centre.

Friends and family gathered at the town’s All Saints’ Church at 2pm on Wednesday to pay their respects to the 87-year-old.

Councillor John Smith paid a special tribute to Mr Griffith-Jones.

“The arts centre revolved around Lauri for many years and he worked extremely hard there.

“He was a fantastic ambassador for the arts in the town.

“He was a big fan of all aspects of the arts, whether it was musicals, comedy, classical or anything else.

“He will be sorely missed,” said Coun Smith.

A former teacher at Prince Henry’s High School, Evesham, Mr Griffith Jones is survived by his wife Joan – who was a teacher at Cherry Orchard Primary School, Pershore – children Gareth and Sian and grandchildren Kate, Sally, Rosie and Jack.

The Evesham Journal reported back in 2007 that Mr Griffith Jones was presented with a specially-commissioned gold medal to mark his years of contribution to the arts in Evesham.

The medal was presented by the then county council chairman Coun John Smith.

At a reception to mark the occasion Coun Smith told guests: “Lauri has played an important role since the Arts Association in Evesham was set up in 1966.”