TRIBUTES have been paid to an 81-year-old pedestrian who died after a collision with a car in Studley Green last week.

Dr John Bendor-Samuel, of Water End Lane, Studley Green, was a leading linguist and language specialist who pioneered Bible translation and literacy work in Africa.

The father-of-five died in hospital after the accident on Wycombe Road at 6.40pm on Thursday. The cause of the collision is being investigated.

In the 1950s Dr Bendor-Samuel effectively founded and established the UK branches of Wycliffe Bible Translators, based in Horsleys Green, and the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), along with brother David and wife Pam.

A statement from Dr Bendor-Samuel's family said: “For Pam, his children and Grandchildren John was a hugely loved husband, father and grandfather, the gentle patriarch who gave himself unstintingly in love, wisdom and practical care.”

Dr Bendor-Samuel was born in Sussex and gained a host of academic qualifications at Oxford University and London University.

He later entered the ministry of Wycliffe Bible Translators and began serving with the SIL, a non-profit Christian organisation, in 1954.

He served in Peru, working in the Jebero language and then Brazil, with the Terena until 1961.

From 1960, in response to requests from several African churches and mission leaders, John lived, first at Achimota, Ghana, and then in Nigeria for the next 14 years.

During this time he directed SIL's work in West Africa, and helped the organisation expand to more than a dozen other African countries.

From 1982 to 1994 he was the editor of the Journal of West African Languages. More recently he had been researching and archiving SIL's work in Africa.

Eddie Arthur, executive director of Wycliffe Bible Translators UK, said: “John was a towering figure on the international mission scene. He was well known and widely respected around the world for his passion for God’s word and the needs of minority people groups.”

Freddy Boswell, executive director SIL, said: “Few people have impacted global language development and Bible translation over the last half century as did our beloved friend and colleague, Dr. John Bendor-Samuel.”

A police press release last week gave Dr Bendor-Samuel's age as 83.