THE funeral of storm victim Roger Hayward will take place on Tuesday in the village where he was described as a hero.

Mr Hayward, 71, of Bremhill, was electrocuted while clearing away a tree that brought down power cables in Wednesday’s storm.

An inquest has been opened and adjourned.

The retired tree surgeon believed the power to the road to be off after his house had plunged into darkness. He got his chainsaw out to unblock the road between Stanley and Bremhill.

His wife Celia, 69, described her husband as the sort of man who would help anyone.

Mr Hayward’s son Andrew, 37, saw him fall to the ground, and it was not safe for either family or paramedics to touch him for about an hour because of the electric current in his body.

His funeral will take place on Tuesday, February 25 at St Martins Church, Bremhill at 2pm, followed by a private burial.

Police were already en route to deal with the fallen tree and cables at 3.20pm when a 999 call alerted them to a man injured at the scene.

South Western Ambulance Service were there at 3.32pm and Mr Hayward was pronounced dead at the scene. A Wiltshire Air Ambulance crew also attended but was unable to fly the helicopter because the weather was so severe.

Mr Hayward’s family said: “We would like to express our deep gratitude for the kind messages of condolence, love and support from friends and neighbours in Chippenham, Calne and beyond.

“We are all shocked and deeply saddened with the passing of our dearest Dad, husband, granddad and friend to many.

“To those that knew him, Roger was a larger than life character, a friend and helping hand to many and any that needed help.

“There are many stories of this covering not just Wiltshire but on occasions when on holiday too.

“Roger was one of life’s workers on his farm, never missed a day off in his life doing what he enjoyed to the end helping others.”

Mr Hayward, who had a market garden and was one of Whitehall Garden Centre’s suppliers, lived on the road where the accident took place for over 20 years.

Family friend Luke Brooks, who has a gardening business in Chippenham, was having a cup of tea with Mr Hayward ten minutes before the accident. He said: “Roger was the nicest man you’d ever meet.”

Those who knew Mr Hayward are welcome to join the family following his service on Tuesday at the Lysley Arms, Derry Hill. Flowers are welcome or donations can be made to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance via Co-operative Funeralcare on The Bridge.

Police have warned the public not to underestimate threats to safety brought about by the weather. Inspector Nick Mawson said: “Our thoughts are with Roger’s family at this difficult time.

“We cannot imagine how they must be feeling having lost him so suddenly.”