THE family of Devizes art lover and climate change campaigner Robin Garton accept he is not coming back from his final walk on a Scottish mountain but still take strength from everything he taught them.

They have now applied to the High Court for him to be officially presumed dead but that does not mean a line is being drawn or they will even begin to forget the man who still had so much to live for.

At a memorial service held at St John’s Church his son Will spoke on behalf of his mother Lee and sister Francesca about the man who was their inspiration, guider and supporter.

Mr Garton, 69, of Roundway, Devizes, is believed to have died hill walking in Glencoe on September 25.

His son said at the service: “Unsurprisingly, the past months have been the most horrible of our lives. Although we don’t know precisely what happened, we believe he is on the Anoch Eagach ridge in Glenoce and was doing a walk well within his abilities.

“He respected the mountain and was never complacent. His love for us was such that he would not have taken unreasonable risks.

"After 2,500 man hours of searching with dogs, drones, divers and helicopters the brilliant Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team volunteers say that they are baffled by not being able to find him.

“And for us as a family not being able to find him is the hardest thing. But, we continue to draw on the strength and resilience he taught us.”

His son described his father as a fantastic family man.

He said: “As his children he left us is no doubt whatsoever that he was our most ardent and loyal supporter.”

Mr Garton spent a brief spell at Oxford but knew from an early age that he wanted to work in the art world. He learnt his trade on the front desk at Christies which set him up for a distinguished 40 year career.

His son said Mr Garton’s colleagues described him as one of the outstanding dealers of British art of his generation with an instinctive understanding of artists.

Forty years after he edited and published the books, British Etchers and British Printmakers, they remains the seminal texts on the subject.

A minute’s silence was held in his honour at the recent New York International Print Fair. His contemporaries wished to remember a talented colleague and a wonderful friend.

He only took up mountaineering aged 55 and this led to an interest in glaciology. He retired at 60 and decided to study for a geography degree some 45 years after his last science lesson. After graduation he set up his own NGO, the Glacier Trust to help communities at altitude adapt to and mitigate climate change.

His son said: “He loved with total devotion and was our absolute rock. His marriage to Mum, their mutual respect, ability to laugh at each other, to debate and above all to converse for hours was perhaps his greatest achievement of all.

“He was an unforgettable, unconventional, free spirited husband, father, uncle, grandfather and friend who was so much loved. It is said, and so it seems, that 'the mountains keep their favourite children'.”