TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘dedicated’ member of a masonic lodge who died in a fire.
Members of the Hermes Lodge, on Queen’s Road, in Fareham, have been devastated by the death of Peter Smeeton after his bungalow caught fire.
He has been described as a dedicated fundraiser, having spent many years as the charity steward.
Secretary of the masonic lodge Chris Wright said: ‘Peter was a well-respected member of the masonic lodge.
‘All the members of the lodge have been shocked and deeply saddened at the news of his untimely death.
‘We will all miss this gentle and considerate man.’
Mr Smeeton, 83, had been a member of the lodge for 25 years having joined in 1989.
He spent several years as the charity steward dedicating his time to raising as much money as possible.
Mr Wright added: ‘He was a dedicated fundraiser for our charities.
‘Several local children’s charities in particular have benefitted from his hard work down the years.
‘Even when he stepped down from the charity steward position, he was an active member of the lodge.
‘Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this very sad time.’
Mr Smeeton, from Nicholas Crescent in Fareham, was rescued from his burning house by firefighters on Saturday but died at the scene.
A woman in her 80s, named locally as Mr Smeeton’s wife Jean, was also rescued by firefighters.
She was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, by ambulance. She suffered minor injuries but remains in the hospital.
The Portsmouth and South East Hampshire coroner’s office is investigating Mr Smeeton’s death.
The fire, which started around 7.50am on Saturday and was described as ‘severe’, is not being treated as suspicious, a spokesman from Hampshire Fire and Rescue service has said.