TRIBUTES have been paid to one of “life’s good guys” after he passed away last month.

Father-of-three Derek Smith, 64, who previously taught PE and led the guidance team at Tranent’s Ross High School before he retired, died on September 15.

His daughter Catriona was among those paying tribute to Mr Smith, who served Ross High School for more than three decades.

Catriona, 32, whose younger sister Debbie sadly passed away three-and-a-half years ago aged 27 – she also has a brother, Euan, 28 – said: “My dad was busy, he was fun and he was very active.

“He always had lots of people around him – loads of friends. He was very kind.”

Mr Smith’s funeral took place in private, due to coronavirus restrictions, at Mortonhall in Edinburgh on September 29.

Paul Reynolds, headteacher at Ross High School, said: “Derek was a PT Guidance here in Fa’side House for many, many years and worked in Ross High School for a total of 35 years.

“His passing is a sad day for the Ross High community.

“On walking round, the school is already being filled with the many stories about Derek and his fun-filled antics.

“The many tales from all the trips he led are also ensuring we all raise a smile in remembrance.

“He was genuinely one of life’s good guys.”

Added Mr Reynolds: “No favour asked was ever declined by Derek.

“He continued to help Ross High since his retirement six years ago in many ways, not least his ever-presence at the annual sports days.

“Derek committed his life to teaching and he was very proud of this.

“He remained committed to teaching in whatever way he could, even in his retirement.

“He will be sadly missed by many in our school and the wider community.”

Away from the secondary school, the West Saltoun resident, who was separated from wife Rona Duncan, was busy in the community.

Mr Smith, who also had two grandchildren, Finlay and Iona, was a member of Humbie, East and West Saltoun and Bolton Community Council, where he received a long service award.

He was also a key part of the resilience effort in the village during lockdown, collecting shopping for a number of people who could not venture out due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Rosemary Greenhill, chairwoman of the group, said: “He was very committed to his community, extremely committed.

“He was on the community council for ages and always participated and rarely missed a meeting.

“He was very committed to West Saltoun and very, very focused on trying to do the best.

“He was very much a community person who did not expect the council to do everything for him; he would meet them halfway.”

Mr Smith also remained active and was heavily involved in a number of events and sporting groups, including in cricket and rugby.

Adam White, chairman of Gifford Community Council, said: “He did wine tasting and put on events like that.

“He was really keen on a whole variety of things but everything he did was with enthusiasm.”