PERIPATETIC teacher, poet and sportaholic, Stephen Cotton, has died aged 72.

Born in Freshwater, on October 6, 1947, to Dorothy and Basil Cotton, he attended Totland Primary School and Carisbrooke Grammar School.

Mr Cotton was a wanderer whose itchy feet took him abroad for much of his life.

He first travelled and worked his way around the United States and Canada, before studying for a degree in Northern Ireland, where he met his wife, Cyndy Ross, whom he married in 1975.

They had two children, Katy, born in 1975, and Stephen, born in 1979.

After spending some time in Northern Ireland, he moved with his new family to Vancouver Island, Canada, studying and later securing a position as a teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL) at a university in Brak, in the south-west of Libya.

He and his family lived there for nearly two years.

After Mr Cotton and his wife divorced, he secured a new TEFL post in Sirte, near Tripoli, where he loved to run along its pristine beaches and swim in the Mediterranean sea.

After returning to the Island for a couple of years and spending time with his parents, Mr Cotton secured another TEFL post in Japan, and lived there for more than 20 years.

He adored Japan and made many friends there, including his companion, Fusako Tahara, known as mama-san.

He visited myriad countries over the years, particularly enjoying Hawaii and Singapore.

He loved the cherry blossoms in Japan, and his friends, and he missed them when he had to move back to the Island due to ill-health.

After a lengthy stay in hospital following a fall, he died at Inglefield Care Home, Totland, on April 23.

Among his hobbies were poetry, sports and reading, and he was known for his bookish nature and good humour.

He leaves behind his brother, Robert, and his two children.