Robert Hill who was head of the Hills Group for more than four decades and was a leading figure in Marlborough Golf Club for many years has died at the age of 74 years.

Mr Hill died yesterday afternoon after suffering a long and debilitating illness and today the club flag was at half-mast out of respect for the man who was a past captain, chairman and president.

Mr Hill, who is survived by his wife Rosie and four sons, Michael, William, David and Jamie, was a dynamic man both in the business world and in his sporting life.

He was at the helm at Marlborough Golf Club from the mid-80s until advancing ill health forced him to stand down as president recently.

The golf club issued a statement to its members today saying: “We are very saddened to announce the death of Robert Hill.

“Robert was 74 years old. He and his family business have been constant and generous supporters of Marlborough Golf club for many years.”

Mr Hill joined the committee of the club in 1984 and chaired its development committee which oversaw the modern clubhouse on The Common. His company continues to sponsor the Wiltshire Professional Championship which continues to be played at Marlborough.

He was also a keen bowls player and represented the county.

Ernie Newell, who was the Gazette and Swindon Advertiser’s golf columnist for many years, said today: “Robert was a lovely chap and made a great contribution to the club.”

Mr Hill was a grandson of Edward Hill who founded Hills of Swindon, then a brick-making business, in 1900 and which under the leadership of successive generations of the family moved into the quarrying and waste management business.

Today the Hills Group, overseen by Robert Hill’s oldest son Michael as chief executive, is one of the leading independent waste management and recycling companies in Britain and together with its quarrying and house building interests has operations that span Wiltshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Dorset.

Born in Swindon, Robert Hill was educated at Clifton College and Bristol University where one of his cohort was John Cleese. Mr Hill was involved in Cleese’s early appearances on the stage.

Mr and Mrs Hill have lived for many years at Eagle House on The Green in Marlborough.