The wife of a late hairdresser and avid sports fan who worked in his hometown for over 40 years said he was “a kind and caring gentleman”.

Rod Petch started work at Aubrey Tite in Wisbech before opening his own hairdressing business on Norfolk Street, where he stayed for 33 years.

Rod’s wife Sue said: “Everybody knew Rod; he had a wonderful impact on the local community and was a kind, caring gentleman.”

Rod, born in Wisbech, died aged 77 on August 30 after a battle with lung cancer.

The avid Wisbech Town FC supporter first met Sue aged five-years-old as they lived next door to one another in the town, then later getting married at St Augustine’s Church.

Rod attended primary school on Kirkgate Street in Walsoken before moving up to the former Queen’s School.

It was after education when he went into work at Aubrey Tite aged 15, which led him into setting up a hairdressers.

“At 26, he opened his own business in 1969,” Sue recalled.

“One day, Paul Batterbee came into the hairdressers from school and asked Rod if he could sweep the floor.

“Rod said he could, but not for money.”

From that point, Rod continued to work with Paul until retirement in 2002.

Rod was also a keen Wisbech fan, attending many home games as well as being interested in other sports, too.

“If he got a chance to go to some sport, he would be there,” Sue said.

“He played table tennis and loved going to Ireland for many years for angling.

“Rod used to go angling there with a few others every May and he always said ‘you have not properly tasted a Guinness until you’re in Ireland’.”

A member of the RSPB, Rod raised thousands of pounds for Meadowgate Academy in Wisbech from annual golf days at Ryston Park Golf Club over around 25 years.

“We lived next door and met at the bottom of the garden,” said Sue.

“Rod was happy with everybody and he loved talking to people.

“Rod will be sadly missed. God bless Rod, you will never be forgotten by all.”

A minute's silence in memory of Rod will be held at Wisbech's home game with Shepshed Dynamo on Saturday.

A cremation will take place at Mintlyn Crematorium, King’s Lynn on Friday, September 24 at 1.45pm followed by a wake at Wisbech Town FC.

All proceeds will go to the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and the Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre at North Cambridgeshire Hospital.