A Dymock school caretaker struck down by a brain tumour says it is the support of pupils which has helped pull him through.

John Fishpool, caretaker at Ann Cam CE Primary, returned to the school on Tuesday for a sponsored silence to raise funds for the hospital which treated him for the potentially fatal tumour earlier this year.

Mr Fishpool, aged 62, received a host of "get well soon" letters from the children when he was in the neurology unit of Frenchay Hospital in Bristol. He underwent a 14 hour operation to remove the spreading tumour.

"In hospital, I had 31 letters from the school children and two baskets of fruit, including a great big one when I came out," he said, "The children kept saying, when are you coming back?

"People have been very good, and I think it all helped me on the way back to recovery. I know prayers were said for me.

"Now people are saying, John, you look better than before you went in. I feel quite good. All the little tendencies for pain are disappearing."

Mr Fishpool who, on medical orders, cannot drive to the school from his Kempley home, will not know until January whether he is to return to school or retire.

Though the operation has been a success, he must undergo regular scans, as doctors monitor his progress.

Headteacher Hilary Orme said: "He is more than a caretaker, very caring, and always ready to help out with school projects and getting involved with the life of the school.

"I hope he comes back, because I think he has been excellent."

Staff often call in after school for tea, to keep Mr Fishpool up to date with news.

Mr Fishpool went to see the doctor in November when he started to experience memory loss.

He went for a scan at the Gloucester Royal Hospital on December 28 and on January 11, underwent surgery in Frenchay.

Mr Fishpool said: "It was a benign tumour, but it was growing. It could have been fatal in 18 months."

The sponsored silence raised a total of £100 for Ward 3 at Frenchay Hospital, to go towards the £1,040 already raised by Mr Fishpool and his family through events such a bingo evening and a donation from Abbey National, the employer of his youngest son, Kevin.