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Former WWII pilot from Marlow dies aged 95

The daughter of a Second World War pilot has paid tribute to him as a ‘special, perfect gentleman’ after his death at the age of 95.

Bernard Lax, a former RAF Wing Commander, passed away on Monday, February 17 at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, from pneumonia after a fall.

He was part of ‘The Goldfish Club’ – an elite club made up of courageous people who have escaped an aircraft by parachuting into the water, or whose aircraft crashed in the water.

Originally from Yorkshire, Mr Lax served in the RAF for 32 years, which took him to locations such as Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.

His last posting was to RAF Medmenham in 1971.

He moved to Marlow in 1973 and later became bursar of the agricultural college at Burchetts Green.

He was then headhunted to become bursar at the British School in the Netherlands.

In January 1984 his daughter Elspeth set up a support group for sufferers of pseudoxanthoma elasticuma (PXE),a disorder affecting the skin and the eyes, and Mr Lax became treasurer. The group, PiXiE, is now a registered charitable trust.

Mr Lax’s wife Margaret, who was from Scotland, died in 1994.

A keen golfer, Mr Lax was a fan of flying, trains and once met George Bush, the American president from 1989-1993.

He lived in Mead Close, Marlow, with his daughter and had a number of serious health issues, undergoing a quadruple bypass in 1980 and battling prostate cancer in 2003.

He also had dementia during the last three years of his life.

“The last year has been very difficult,” said Elspeth, 62.

“I had to take him everywhere. He always used to say, it is because of you that I am still here.

“A lot of people say it is because I have looked after him so well.”

She added: “He was a special, perfect gentleman – he would always stand up when any lady entered the room.

“He was loved, totally loved by lots and lots of people.

“I am going to be totally lost without him.”

David Bloor, a friend, paid tribute to him on Facebook.

He said: “[Bernard] was one of England’s last gentlemen in every sense of the word.

“There are not many men throughout my life that I have looked up to and had respect for.

“You will be sadly missed and leave a great void in many peoples’ lives.”

Mr Lax’s funeral was due to be held at the Marlow URC Church in Oxford Road yesterday (Wednesday).

Donations to PiXiE can be made by visiting www.pxe.org.uk

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