A PILLAR of the community who had a longstanding relationship with the town's football club and business scene has died.

Michael King was a director at Reading FC for several years and he then became a patron until the club was promoted to the Premier League in 2012.

The 72-year-old, who was born in the town and went to Reading School, died after what his wife described as a long battle with Parkinson's Disease.

His wife Jane said he will be remembered as a 'gentleman' who 'would do anything for anyone'.

She said: "Michael remained a patron until a few years ago when it became a bit too much for him.

"He always showed great interest in the football, even when he was very ill.

"He was involved in lots of charity work and he worked with many businesses too."

As well as his footballing links, Mr King will be fondly remembered as a champion of local businesses.

He played a huge role in helping to establish Cream Design Reading and he worked closely with Sentinel Insurance Solutions.

The company paid tribute to Mr King and said they would not be where they are today without his support and guidance.

Former colleagues added: "He was often described as a pillar of the community and his support of all things Reading was widely known and appreciated.

"Whilst leading Goss & Co, he built a team that represented his ethics, putting the customer first at all times and ensuring a camaraderie within his employees.

"After selling his business he devoted more time and energy in philanthropic ventures and when he was approached to help launch Sentinel 10 years ago, he was happy to support and believe that Jon Duncan and James Cooper could develop the business into a successful insurance brokers who aim to deliver an exceptional service in the vehicle rental industry.

"Looking back it would be difficult to envisage our growth without him.

"Cruelly Michael’s retirement was beset by deteriorating health, but that did not stop him from throwing in an occasional mischievous comment to test our reactions whenever we met.

"He will be sorely missed by his many friends and our sympathies are sincerely sent from all at Sentinel to his family at this sad time."