JIM Lewendon, who has died aged 89, was a former Royal Artillery gunner who dedicated more than 45 years of his life to honouring and supporting fellow veterans in Oxfordshire.

Mr Lewendon stood down as the county chairman of the Royal British Legion last year after selling poppies and organising Remembrance services for more then four decades.

He did not miss a single one of the repatriation ceremonies for any of the 635 soldiers who died in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He also encouraged fellow veterans to gather as standard bearers in Headley Way, which became known as ‘The Final Turn’ before fallen soldiers were taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

In the last few years of his chairmanship, the Oxfordshire Poppy Appeal regularly raised more than £500,000 for ex-service personnel.

The great-grandfather also regularly attended the Turning the Pages ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral, where names of soldiers from local regiments who died in the two world wars are read out.

James William Colin Lewendon was born in Cutteslowe on December 18, 1928, to parents Frances and James Lewendon.

He was brought up with his three brothers Brian, Terry and Nigel and he also had a sister Jane, who was 22 years younger than him.

After leaving St John the Baptist Church School he worked as an apprentice craftsman in the city, and after a stint with the Royal Artillery in the aftermath of the Second World War he became a painter and decorator in 1953.

Six years later, aged 31, he joined Rover Group – based at Cowley – as a building maintenance worker.

He settled at the firm and stayed for the rest of his working life.

Mr Lewendon first met his future wife Joyce Jeffs at the age of 14 – they went to the same school and lived across the road from each other.

They were married on December 26, 1949, at St Michael & All Angels Church in Summertown.

Shortly afterwards they moved to Girdlestone Road in Headington where they would live for more than 60 years.

The couple had three children; Christine (1951), Colin (1954) and Wendy (1965).

It was Mr Lewendon’s service with the Royal Artillery that inspired him to join the Royal British Legion in 1971 and subsequently commit the next 46 years of his life to honouring and supporting veterans.

He had signed up as a gunner in 1946, at the age of 16, and served in the UK and Allied-occupied Germany through to 1949.

It was more than 20 years later that he decided to join the Marston branch of the RBL - an organisation for the ex-service community, which co-ordinates major events such as the Poppy Appeal and Remembrance services.

Over the years, he worked his way up from a position on the welfare committee to the role of chairman from 1999-2001.

He was then vice-chairman until again taking the chairmanship in 2011 for three years.

But in 2014, after a replacement could not be found, he continued in the role until he retired last year.

He never once missed the opportunity to pay his respects to British soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, co-ordinating their final journeys home and making sure RBL members were there to pay tribute.

He gathered members to pay their respects at St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Headley Way – known as ‘The Final Turn’.

Every year he would be seen in Carfax selling poppies and by the end of his tenure – coinciding with the centenary of the First World War – his appeals were raising more than £500,000.

Aside from his dedication to the armed forces community, he enjoyed rowing and was a member and one-time president of the Falcon Rowing Club in Oxford.

He also took part in Pressed Steel caravan club rallies and loved camping holidays in Dorset.

He died, following a battle with cancer, on May 26.

Predeceased by his wife Joyce, who died aged 76 in 2005, and his son, Colin, who died in 2009, he is survived by his two daughters, Christine and Wendy, and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

His funeral will take place at Oxford Crematorium at 1pm on June 22 - all are welcome.