TRIBUTES have been paid to a respected former Port Glasgow secondary school teacher who has died.

Brian McCool, who was principal teacher of mathematics at St Stephen's High, passed away last Tuesday aged 75 after a brave battle with lung cancer.

Mr McCool was one of the longest-serving members of staff, having spent 34 years at the school where was held in high regard among his colleagues and pupils.

It was at St Stephen's where he met his wife Mary, 60, who taught home economics for many years and was PT of guidance.

Such was their love for the school and Port Glasgow that two of their three daughters - Mary Louise, 29, and Hazel, 26 - attended the Port secondary.

They also had another daughter, Helen, who is now 21, and a grandson, Jack Brian McDonald, currently aged four months, to parents Hazel and her husband Kevin McDonald.

His family have thanked everyone for their messages of support on what would have been Mr McCool's 76th birthday today.

Mrs McCool, who was married to her husband for 32 years, said: "The community of St Stephen's High School and Port Glasgow has held a special place in our hearts.

"It's where Brian and I met and where we were both very happy in our teaching vocation.

"Brian always said teaching was the best job ever.

"We were lucky to have great support and co-operation from our pupils, their parents and of course our colleagues - both teaching and non-teaching - over many years.

"We worked hard - Brian was especially grateful for the tremendous dedication of his maths colleagues - and I know they had a lot of laughs.

"We feel blessed to have been a part of such a great community and I thank everyone for their messages of love and support at this difficult time."

Mr McCool was born in Stirling, grew up in Clydebank and later settled with his family in Paisley.

He graduated from the University of Glasgow and gained his teaching qualifications at Jordanhill.

Mr McCool began his career at St Pius' in Clydebank before joining St Stephen's in 1971 where he remained until his retirement in 2005.

Aside from his teaching expertise, Mr McCool was also known for being confident, outgoing and for his sense of humour.

His eldest daughter, Mary Louise, said: "When my mum joined the school a few years after dad did he asked her out while they were invigilating an exam and the pupils overheard him asking her out for a curry.

"She initially wasn't too pleased but eventually said yes.

"They were married for 32 happy years."

Mr McCool's body will be received into St Columba's Catholic Church in Renfrew on Wednesday June 5 at 6pm.

The funeral mass will take place on Thursday at 9.30am.