Tributes have been pouring in after a “great character of Wanstead” died suddenly aged 67 earlier this week.

Peter Brown was found dead in his Greenstone Mews home on Monday afternoon after suffering a brain haemorrhage.

He was born in Wanstead Hospital and had been churchwarden at Overton Drive’s St Mary’s church since the 1970s, where he oversaw a £144,000 refurbishment last year.

Mr Brown joined the Wanstead parish choir aged 10 and remained involved all his life, apart from a brief two-year spell living in New Zealand in the 1970s.

His fellow Wanstead choir members spoke of their memories of his “strong bass voice”.

John Garlick, 68, of Redbridge Lane West, said: “I am gobsmacked as there was nothing to suggest he had any health issues, I had seen him the previous evening and had also been on a walking holiday with him to Norfolk last week.

“He was born, bred and lived all his life in Wanstead and he was a loyal friend when I moved to the area about 30 years ago.

“I sung with him in a number of choirs and he had an amazing, strong bass voice.”

Roger Middleditch, also of Redbridge Lane West, met Mr Brown as a nine-year-old in his class at Wanstead Church School when his family moved to the area in 1957.

The 67-year-old said: “The news was a bolt out of the blue when I heard, he never had issues with his health so it really is a shock.

“It is a tragedy because he has been a good friend almost all my life.

“Me and Pete sat together at school and we joined the local choir together.

“My family moved from Tottenham and I remember Pete took me under his wing, we spent some of our summer holidays tidying up the church yard and he spent most of his life in the church.

“I have been his friend ever since and we spent many a Friday night in the Nightingale pub.

“He was so important to Wanstead and put 110 per cent into everything he did for the community.”

Cllr Colin Cronin called Mr Brown “one of the great characters of Wanstead”.

He said: “His passion for our choir was infectious, the depths of his bass voice incredible but it was his love for St. Mary's and the protection of it that was truly inspiring and beyond compare.

“It was under his stewardship of Redbridge's only Grade I listed building that we saw its interior fully restored to its former beauty and glory. 

“He was a warm-hearted, witty, smart giant who was always eager to welcome, help and support choir members and congregation alike.

“Wanstead has lost one of the great men of our community with our dear Mr. Brown's passing.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: St Mary's church in Wanstead

St Mary's church in Wanstead.