Tributes have been paid to an ‘inspiring’ father, farmer and teacher.

Arthur Pearse, who set up Tamarisk Farm in West Bexington, has died aged 92.

He was born in Crewkerne in 1927 and lived his childhood in south Somerset, holidaying in Burton Bradstock before moving to Litton Cheney with his parents after they retired.

He joined the Raf for his national service in 1944 just before the end of the war.

Arthur taught at Westminster Choir School before studying geography and anthropology at Oxford University. It was here that he met his wife, Josephine, and they married in 1953.

With their growing family, they spent three years in northern Nigeria with Arthur teaching for the colonial government. They got involved in the Nigerian community and spent time exploring the landscapes and understanding the society and their farming - buying eggs and milk from nomads and learning from local gardeners how to grow in the climate. Some of Arthur’s Nigerian students would later visit the family in Dorset.

The family returned to the UK in 1960 and Arthur and Josephine created Tamarisk Farm in West Bexington. They planted trees to shelter the land and alongside the farm, began as organic market gardeners.

As pioneers in the organic movement the Soil Association, they learnt to enrich soil naturally, grow healthy crops and support healthy animals. Arthur was also involved in the Dorset Wildlife Trust from the outset and the farm reed bed behind Chesil Beach became one of its first nature reserves.

After passing the farm to his daughter and son-in-law, Ellen and Adam, Arthur continued to lead Tamarisk market garden until his late eighties and continued to teach, both as a farmer helping students and volunteers develop skills and an understanding of organic growing and as a class teacher in local schools.

His family said: “He was also a respected lecturer at the South Dorset Technical College where he was an inspiring teacher for many.

“As a father, farmer, mentor and teacher, Arthur was noted for his quiet, kind patience, though he could speak his mind too. He had a dry, compelling and sometimes mischievous humour that remained to his last days.

“He died at home quietly on December 30 after spending a loving Christmas with his family, including his wife, six children, 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.”