Tributes have been paid to Dame Cheryl Gillan’s husband Jack Leeming, who has sadly passed away aged 91.

Mr Leeming, a former civil servant who went on to work part time for his Chesham and Amersham MP wife’s office after his retirement, died on Saturday, March 23.

In a moving tribute, Dame Cheryl’s office said Mr Leeming, a loyal Manchester United fan and former mathematics teacher, will be “missed hugely by the many friends he made throughout his long life, who will always remember his warmth, his wit and his many kindnesses”.

The statement added: “Jack… was one of that generation who wear their nine decades lightly. He was always active, his intelligent and analytical mind was keen, and to the very end he delighted in the love and companionship of the four generations of his family.”

Born in Oldham on May 3, 1927, John “Jack” Coates Leeming was a pupil at Chadderton Grammar School and won a scholarship to study at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he was the senior wrangler - the highest-achieving mathematician of his year.

He rowed, played football and “loved the intellectual stimulation” of a Cambridge education where he made a friend for life in another mathematician Norman Kerruish.

His academic background led him into an “immensely distinguished” career, teaching maths at Hyde Grammar School until 1950 before going onto HM Customs and Excise, leaving for a couple of years to control defence expenditure in HM Treasury.

He eventually went on to be a commissioner for Customs and Excise handling VAT liability and fraud, and “showed great delight in following the careers of those whom he had encouraged as youngsters in their first jobs, many of whom went on to emulate his own achievements”.

Jack also took three years out on secondment working in Washington DC as a senior advisor at the World Bank and his lifelong fascination with science and technology culminated in his appointment to the Department of Trade and Industry where he was responsible for space policy, the Post Office and the films division.

He was appointed director general of the British National Space Centre and after his retirement was one of the key people behind negotiating Helen Sharman’s trip to the Mir Space Station.

In his official retirement, Jack remained in the service of the public, this time as the husband of Dame Cheryl Gillan MP.

Dame Cheryl commended her husband for his “steadfast support” in her political career – from the back benches to the front bench, adding: “His wise counsel was always there and he was a great friend to the Chesham & Amersham constituency. His passion for public service continued all through his life as did his sense of duty and fairness.”

Devoted to sport, Jack remained a “loyal supporter” of Manchester United through days of glory, gloom and back to glory - a bond which he shared with his two sons.

He also shared that love with others to the extent that he once inadvertently broadcast a radio match commentary from the campaign vehicle whilst canvassing during a General Election.

Jack’s own sport was golf and this led to his becoming golfing captain of his club, the RAC. He and his golfing friends enjoyed their tours to other golf clubs throughout their days of retirement. He was a founder member of “the Claret Club”, a group of RAC members who met to “sort out the world”. Their bond of friendship was strong and an important part of his life.