THE family of Lye activist Richard Rothwell who was found dead on cliffs in south Wales have paid tribute to the “computer genius” father and husband.

Forty-seven-year-old Richard, from St Mark’s Road, was found at Trefasser, near Pwll Deri, Pembrokeshire, on July 18 after a massive police search.

His wife Pauline Gibbard and daughters Beth, aged 22, and Ellen, aged 25, this week paid an emotional tribute to the family man they “adored” - whose passion and career saw him campaigning on a host of issues, but most notably his aim to make free software available to all.

Pauline, a former nurse - who married Richard five years ago, told the News: “He was an activist for people’s rights and for fairness. He was passionate about social change, people having equal opportunities and access to things - and climate change.

“He was incredible with computers. He worked to supply sustainable software options to charities and schools to ensure kids from socially excluded families had access to the same equipment as better class families.

“He was also great with my son.”

Richard’s youngest daughter Beth said: “We adored him. He was giving and passionate about making the world a better place.

“He was amazingly intelligent; he just absorbed information - he was like a walking google.”

London-born Richard moved to Lye around five years ago.

Dedicated to his adopted community - he had been working to try and set up a credit union in Lye and a co-working space similar to Birmingham’s Moseley Exchange - where people who work from home can hang out, mix with like-minded people and have access to computers.

He was also a member of Dudley Green Party and had been involved with Friends of the Earth and the No2ID campaign to get the Government’s ID card plan scrapped.

He also ran a host of websites dedicated to his beliefs.

And his company M6 IT - which he ran with business partner Matthew Edmondson - had recently won an innovation award for a project he was planning to skill-up bedroom computer programmers for the workplace.

Determined daughter Beth now aims to carry his work on and bring the project to fruition.

Still trying to come to terms with his untimely death, Richard’s family have praised the efforts of Stourbridge police - whose alerts sparked the massive search that ensued around the Welsh coast after fears for his safety were raised.

Pauline said: “They were so kind.”

Richard’s funeral will be held at 2pm on Friday August 7 at All Saints Parish Church in Leamington Spa - followed by burial at Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground and a wake at the Jug and Jester pub next to the church.

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