A MISSIONARY who risked his life to help the people of Borneo has died in York, aged 92.

Assistant Bishop of Kuching, The Right Rev Peter Howes, is fondly remembered in Borneo as someone who worked to educate and empower the local community.

Bishop Howes first went to the Malaysian region of Sarawak in 1937 but was soon captured as a Japanese prisoner in the Second World War.

During that terrifying time he risked his life in order to translate the New Testament into the language of Biatah, using sun-bleached food wrappers to write on and burying his work inside bottles in the ground.

When the Australian Army liberated the camp, Bishop Howes dug up the translation, which was later published and is still used there now.

After ten years in Borneo, Bishop Howes was asked to run a priest training course called the House of the Epiphany. Students at the school helped rebuild Kuching Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1956.

Bishop Howes was then seconded by the local Government to head the Padawan Community Development Scheme to educate the local people about hygiene, teach them to build better homes and install a fresh water system.

After his work on that project he was made Archdeacon and eventually became assistant Bishop of Kuching in 1976. He retired to York, where his sister lived, in 1981 and after his riverside home flooded for the third time he was invited by the Dean of York, The Very Reverend Raymond Furnell, to live in a flat within the Minster grounds.

His friend, the Rev Canon Leonard Melling, said: "He was a remarkable man, one of the great missionaries of our time.

Bishop Howes' funeral will take place at York Minster at 1.30pm on Thursday, April 24.

Updated: 10:14 Wednesday, April 16, 2003