TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular Weymouth artist whose work raised thousands of pounds for charity.

John Lee passed away on Saturday, October 18, aged 87.

The talented grandfather had been painting right up until a few days before his death.

John was the RNLI lifeboat artist for more than 20 years and his paintings of real rescues were awarded at presentations across the country.

He also donated paintings each year to raise funds for the RNLI and other charities.

In 2003 he presented a portrait of the Queen Mother to the Guildhall in Weymouth on behalf of the people of the town and painted a portrait of Princess Anne for the new police headquarters in Chickerell.

His work even included paintings of the GB team on the waters off Weymouth and Portland during the Olympics 2012.

He presented Sir Ben Ainslie with a painting and in return, Sir Ben gave John a signed shirt.

But it was John’s depiction of colourful characters sitting in deckchairs along the promenade, which were promoted in the Swan pub in Weymouth that made locals laugh.

These paintings became popular sellers and John donated some of the proceeds to charities Click Sergeant and the Chernobyl Society.

John was born in Southend in Essex but moved to Weymouth in 1956 after he had met and married wife April.

“He had a couple of holidays in a campsite at Osmington and when he came to Weymouth he thought it was the most wonderful place and that the harbour was so interesting,” said April.

John’s first job was working in the brewery but when they put him in the oven to shovel corn, he felt that the job was not for him, April said.

He then worked in the dockyard and then for Bradfords, a seed and coal merchants.

He and wife April then managed a small hotel in Brunswick Terrace for 24 years but John was struck down with Rheumatoid arthritis, which badly affected his hands.

The couple retired to Wyke Regis, where John began to paint full-time.

He and April celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary earlier this year.

John also leaves behind daughter Adreissa, son-in-law Simon and granddaughter Josie.

A celebration of his life will be held at All Saints Church, Wyke Regis on November 3 from 11.15am.

Family flowers only but monetary donations can be made to Weymouth RNLI.