FRIENDS and family of Russell Nixon whose death in Chippenham sparked a murder inquiry will gather for a service to remember his life on Wednesday. (June 21)

Mr Nixon, 38, of Derby Close, Chippenham, was found with fatal injuries in London Road on May 10.

This week Keith Wilson the pastor of Chippenham Christian Fellowship Church paid tribute to the sometimes troubled man who had become his friend.

He said: "Russell whilst he had his issues, he was a really nice guy to be with, he was friendly and respectful, well mannered and usually got people laughing with his great sense of humour.

"He enjoyed fishing and woodwork. He made a commitment to become a Christian and attended church and enjoyed Christian events. He also enjoyed helping neighbours with his gardening skills.

"A local friend had him round for Sunday lunch and he would buy his wife a present and flowers because that’s the kind of guy he was,thoughtful and kind. He will be sadly missed by his friends and family."

Mr Nixon, who grew up in Derby moved to Chippenham a number of years ago. He was a trained carpenter and liked to make bird boxes which he would give to elderly people who he helped with their gardens.

He also attended a patch of garden at the fellowship church in Wood Street and Mr Wilson said it would be fitting for some sort of flower or small tree to be planted in his memory.

He said: "I hope quite a few people will come to the service. We held a service a few days after he died but not everyone knew about it so this will be a chance for everyone to come. When I have been out and about in Chippenham a lot of people have asked about what is happening."

A cremation at West Wilts Crematorium will be held at 2.30pm and this will be followed by a service at the Christian Fellowship church led by Mr Wilson at 3.45pm.

He said both the cremation and service were open to all. Mr Nixon's mother, who lives in Derby, has been liasing with Mr Wilson over the service which will include traditional hymns including Amazing Grace.

Matthew Chapman, 22, of Wood Lane, has been charged with Mr Nixon's murder and has been remanded in custody to appear at Bristol Crown Court on October 6, with his trial starting on November 2.