A VET who has been a vital part of the work of Stokenchurch Dog Rescue since it began in the 60s has died.

Mellis Archard, of Bucklebury, Reading, died on December 16, aged 86, at Donnington Nursing Home.

He lived and worked in High Wycombe before his retirement and was president of the dog charity in Stokenchurch.

Mr Archard was a founder of the current Crossroads veterinary practice which has surgeries in High Wycombe, Hazlemere and Watlington.

Joyce Marriott, chairman from Stokenchurch Dog Rescue, said: "Mellis and Crossroads have been a vital part of the work of Stokenchurch Dog Rescue Society since the charity began in 1963 and his kindness and generosity towards our cause knew no bounds.

"This can be seen from the Minutes of our second AGM held on March 31, 1965 where it is recorded that ‘Mr Archard does not charge for examining our dogs, only for the treatment that he gives them, so this helps us a lot’. Over the intervening years his dedication, hard work and expertise have proved invaluable to us in so many ways.

"Not content with providing us with his vast veterinary skills, Mellis also took on the role of Chairman of the Board where, under his leadership and guidance, we have gone from strength to strength. Sadly, due to his declining health, Mellis had to stand down as Chairman a few years ago but he remained very much ‘in touch’ with SDR as our President.

"We will greatly miss his wise council, wealth of experience and endless patience."

Director at Crossroads, Malcolm Walters, said Mr Archard was a "true gentle, gentleman" and said he started what is now Crossroad Veterinary Centre in 1958.

He said: "He had the foresight, even in the early 60s to make sure there was enough car parking available and he also realised that the Practice in those days would grow.

"So, when the adjoining house became available, he and his wife Peggy decided to purchase it. Indeed, their early sacrifices have enabled Crossroads to develop from those early beginnings.

"People have often commented to me that he was always such a gentle and 'nice' man and I always found him to be extremely honest and straight and a good business partner."

Mr Archard had suffered with Parkinson's for a number of years and leaves behind his wife, Peggy.

The funeral will be at West Berkshire Crematorium in Thatcham on January 2 at 11.15am. Family flowers only with donations to Parkinson’s UK and Stokenchurch Dog Rescue. Cheques made payable to either charity and can be sent to A.Walker and Son, 40 The Broadway, Thatcham RG193HP.