TRIBUTES have been paid following the sudden death of a former Dean of Winchester.

Michael Till, 77, was dean of the cathedral from 1996 to 2005.

During his time the girls’ choir was formed and Deanery Garden opened to the public.

Before coming to Winchester Mr Till had been Archdeacon of Canterbury.

On retiring, he moved to Petworth in West Sussex.

His funeral will be held in Winchester Cathedral at 11.30am on Friday. All are welcome to attend.

The current Dean, The Very Revd James Atwell, said: “It was with great sadness that the cathedral community heard of the death of Michael Till. His was a distinguished ministry which included building up the cathedral’s community links.

“As Michael’s successor, I greatly appreciated having that foundation to build on. Our thoughts and prayers are very much with Tessa and the family at this time.”

The Rt Rev Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, said: “I am very sad to have learned of the death of Dean Emeritus Michael Till. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tessa and the family at this time, as we also give thanks for Michael’s life, and loyal ministry here in the cathedral and in the Diocese of Winchester.”

Mr Till, on his retirement in a service in a packed cathedral, said: “No one is a triumph and no one is a disaster. We are put together to get on as best we may.

"It’s all pilgrimage. I have had a wonderful time here and want to thank you for the privilege of your company.”