A FOOTBALL referee and retired police officer, who was a well-known face around the Island, David Malcolm Brunt, has died at the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, aged 67, following a short illness.

After leaving school to become an apprentice shipbuilding draughtsman at Vosper Thornycroft, Southampton, Mr Brunt moved to Conder at Kings Worthy, Winchester, to continue his trade.

In 1977, Dave, as he was best known, joined the Hampshire and IW Constabulary, where he served as a police constable for 30 years, retiring in 2007.

The first half of his service was spent as a beat bobby in Cowes, where he became a well-known face.

Later, Mr Brunt worked as a traffic officer, serving at Sandown, Ryde and Newport police stations.

Mr Brunt, born in Southampton on July 13, 1950, began work at the tender age of eight, when his mother got him a job on a fruit and veg delivery round.

He likened the role to Benny Hill's Ernie the Milkman character.

In retirement, he briefly worked at Esplanade Garage, Ryde, and for the Royal Mail.

He married Rhoda (nee Thompson) at Bethany Evangelical Church, Newport, on April 1, 1972.

Mr Brunt, of Bellevue Road, Cowes, enjoyed DIY projects, for himself and others, and daily walks with his dog.

A fan of Southampton FC, Mr Brunt was a well-respected Island referee for 42 years.

He was a governor at Solent Middle School, Cowes, for a many years, with many former pupils remembering him as the volunteer minibus driver for the school’s annual residential trips to North Wales.

Mr Brunt is survived by his wife, five children and seven grandchildren.

His funeral and thanksgiving service will be held at Bethany Evangelical Church, at noon on Friday, November 17.

A service at the IW Crematorium, Whippingham, will follow, with well-wishers asked to make a donation to Earl Mountbatten Hospice.