TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of mathematician and leading academic Professor Mike O’Carroll who also threw himself into village life in North Yorkshire as organizer of the World Welly Wanging Championships.

Professor O’Carroll, who was born in Coventry, moved with wife Pat to Welbury, near Northallerton in 1978, coming via Cambridge University and Australia to take up a post as Head of the Mathematics Department at Teesside Polytechnic, He later moved to Sunderland to head up several departments there before ending his career as Pro-Vice Chancellor at Sunderland University. He had gained his professorship for his work in forging international links. Travelling extensively he took Pat along as often as he could with trips to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Italy. The couple had four children Leonie, Heather, Sean and Michael.

Alongside the demands of his academic work he dedicated time and effort to supporting the community of Welbury, producing 99 editions and one thousand bulletins of the Wel-e-News and arranging an annual world welly wanging championship taking on Wellington, in Somerset, in a contest billed as a test of northern mettle against southern grit in 2012 achieving a new welly wanging world record, under Welbury Rules.

As a writer Mike produced many books and articles setting up two private publishing companies to ensure that things were done ethically and published a Welbury history for the village millennium project that he jointly collated.

Mike had energy for life and fitness all his life achieving many championship titles in weightlifting and became pivotal within BAWLA (British Amateur Weight Lifting Association) bringing in younger members and devised the O’Carroll scoring formula. Mike also sat as a referee on the world record panel for Precious McKenzie’s lift on Blue Peter. He also enjoyed running and took part in a number of races including both the Great North Run and the Lyke Wake Race several times.

His concerns regarding the safety of electro-magnetic fields led him to set up the REVOLT movement, opposing the building of a new line of overhead pylons from Teesside through the North Yorkshire countryside to Shipton near York.

A humanist funeral service was held at Darlington Crematorium. Mourners joined in a celebration of Professor O’Carroll’s life. They were told: "Mike was a role model for others. Very much defined by humanist values, he had time for everyone, and would help anyone who needed it, not in a showy way but with a quiet integrity. A kind, decent man with a genuine interest in other people, he lived simply and gave greatly. He was a happy, contented and fulfilled man, and he leaves behind a legacy of love."