Death of pagoda architect

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THE visionary architect behind the city's Peace Pagoda – the first in the Western Hemisphere – has died aged 75.

Tom Hancock, a renowned architect and town planner, died on Sunday after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in the autumn.

Mr Hancock, who from 1980 until last summer lived in Weston Underwood, was also involved in the development of Canary Wharf, the town planning of Peterborough, and in 2002 he put forward the idea for the Lifespace Centre at Delapre Abbey, Northants.

His most famous landmark in Milton Keynes was the Peace Pagoda.

In the 1970s Mr Hancock, a Buddhist, met the teacher of the Nipponzan Myohoji order which was building pagodas all over the world. He approached the development corporation with the idea and the pagoda was built at Willen in 1980.

Handa Shonin, the monk at the Buddhist Temple, said: "Since then we have had a very close association with Tom. He was a very peace-loving person, very kind and very thoughtful. He also worked for the anti-nuclear movement and Greenpeace."

Mr Hancock also designed the Olney sign in the town's market square.

Friend and colleague Bill Bethune, who lives in the town, said: "He was quite a concept man and he was quite a visionary. He was quite modest but he was also an eloquent speaker."

When aged 33 Mr Hancock was made a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Arcitects.

He is survived by five children.

A ceremony for close friends and family will be held at the Buddhist Temple, in Willen, tomorrow (Friday) before a service at the Crownhill Crematorium.