A POPULAR local artist and art teacher from Bushey has died.

Mr Arnold Fletcher died on Friday, June 14. He was 81.

Mr Fletcher was best known in the area as head of the art department at Bushey Meads School, in Coldharbour Lane, Bushey, where he worked for many years until his retirement.

While at school he produced school plays from playwrights such as Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw. He also produced plays he wrote himself.

His interest in art and drama flourished outside the school gates as well as Mr Fletcher wrote one-act plays for drama festivals, one of which was published.

He painted scenery for the St James' Music and Drama Society occasionally acting in their productions.

Mr Fletcher was interested in floral art and was a judge at many local flower shows and a founder member of the Watford and District Floral Decoration Society which gave demonstrations and won trophies at competitions.

He ran evening classes for several years and wrote a book entitled Oil Painting Step by Step, published by Faber and Faber.

In 1995, a wide selection of his work was on display in the Lucy Kemp-Welch Memorial Gallery in Church House, Bushey.

Born in Yorkshire in 1920, Mr Fletcher studied art at Wakefield School of Art until he joined the RAF as an instrument repairer during the Second World War.

In 1948, he married Eileen Hampshire and they moved to Bushey in 1953.

His passions for drama and art and wide range of interests and accomplishments showed that Mr Fletcher was the embodiment of his own philosophy on art: "Art is too wide a field to ignore all the grass on either side and concentrate on one narrow path through the middle."

Mr Fletcher leaves behind wife Eileen, daughter Ann and granddaughter Ellen.

Mr Fletcher's funeral will take place at 2.40pm at West Herts Crematorium in High Elms Lane, Garston, on Wednesday, June 26.