CHARITIES in Worcestershire have paid tribute to much-loved philanthropist Cecil Duckworth CBE, who has died aged 83.

Mr Duckworth helped set up the Duckworth Worcestershire Foundation, which manages the Pump House Environment Centre, Worcestershire Resource Exchange and Chapter Meadows, as well as a number of woodland and riverside sites owned by Worcester City Council.

Its Ranger Team undertakes conservation work and litter and graffiti removal works within the county and supports schools in improving their grounds.

A trust spokesman said: "Cecil Duckworth was the chair of the Duckworth Worcestershire Trust since its beginning, 22 years ago.

"He established the Trust in 1998, after selling his company Worcester Heat Systems to Bosch, as he wanted to make a difference to his adopted home town of Worcester.

"Originally the Trust dealt with litter and graffiti, two issues that Cecil cared very deeply about and not long after that, the Trust purchased Chapter Meadows for the benefit of wildlife and for the people of Worcester.

READ MORE: Worcester Warriors' tribute to Cecil Duckworth CBE

"Cecil was a very active Chair right up until his death and would regularly visit the Pump House to meet with staff over a cappuccino and he often made time on a Friday morning to chat to the volunteer WREmakers at WRE. He will be greatly missed by staff and volunteers alike."

Mr Duckworth was a key backer of Acorns Children’s Hospice, helping them care for seriously ill children and their families.

Toby Porter Acorns CEO, paid tribute to Mr Duckworth as one of the ‘great friends’ in the history of the charity. He said: “We are extremely proud of our long association with this remarkable person, who despite his achievements was someone of immense humility and gentleness.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that Cecil has personally helped to support hundreds of local children and their families with children’s hospice care since Acorns in Worcester first opened its doors.

“Cecil understood on a deep and personal level the vital importance of services like Acorns and recognised immediately the growing need many families had in the local area.

“He always retained a keen interest in how Acorns was doing and like John Overton and David Strudley before me, I was fortunate as CEO to be able to count on his experience and advice.”

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Former Mayor of Worcester Cllr Jabba Riaz also took to Twitter, sharing a photo of himself with Mr Duckworth.

He said: “27 years ago I was sat listening to this great man in a lecture on tenacity at King’s (The King’s School)

“Little was I to know that I was to share the same table and work with him for the betterment of the city all these years later. R.I.P Cecil, may your joyous smile and legacy live on.”

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont also paid tribute, saying: “Sad to hear of Cecil Duckworth’s passing. A true gentleman, passionate about rugby and turned Worcester’s Premiership Rugby dream into a sustainable reality. He will be missed.

“Thoughts with his family and the Worcester Warriors community”