A FAITH leader who fought racism and discrimination in York has died peacefully at the age of 81.

Dr Darminder Singh Chadha - who had a "varied life woven from multiple strands” - lived in York for three decades, and achieved great accolades for his work in hydrogeology in both Yorkshire and his hometown of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania

As a devout Sikh, he made a big impact on the York Indian Cultural Association, helping Ugandan refugees settle in the city, setting up the York Inter-Faith Group, and becoming the Sikh Faith Adviser at York St. John University.

Mahendra Verma, of University of York, said: “I first met Darminder and his wife Gurdeep when they came to a meeting of the York and District Community Relations Council that I was chairing in Priory Street in 1976 - ever since then he and I worked together in York to promote diversity and fight against racism and discrimination.”

Darminder studied geology at the University of Pune in India, before working as a field geologist in Tanzania, where he produced the first set of geological maps with the Tanzanian Geological Society – including the Tarangiri Game reserve.

He completed a PhD in hydrogeology at the University of Leeds, and worked as a lecturer at Middlesex University.

He came to York in 1976 as a senior hydrogeologist with Yorkshire Water.

He was awarded an MBE in 1996 for his contribution to the water industry.

Mahendra added: “Darminder had a very positive outlook on life, and always cheered friends up with his knowledge of Urdu poetry. He was humble, witty, good to the core, a thoughtful and considerate person - we will always miss him, may his soul rest in peace.”