DENIS Richard Colvin, who died on Saturday in Thaxted, Essex, had the daunting task of replacing the gas street-lighting of Glasgow with a modern lighting system.

A native of Hamilton, he attended Hamilton Academy and the Royal Technical College of Glasgow, serving his apprenticeship with Hamilton Electricity Department.

Commissioned into the engineering branch of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, he held regular, RAFVR, and training branch commissions. He re-formed 2166 (Hamilton) Squadron of the Air Training Corps in 1947 and retired from uniformed service with the rank of Squadron Leader.

Twice president of the Institution of Lighting Engineers, he was appointed Honorary Fellow in 1988 and Honorary Member of the Association of Public Lighting Engineers in 1981. His achievements include replacing the last gas lighting on Lanarkshire's roads, also the lighting policy and its implementation in the New Town of East Kilbride.

Appointed Glasgow Inspector of Lighting in 1960, he faced the challenge of transforming gas-lit streets with a modern lighting system. Glasgow was, at that time, the largest single lighting authority in Great Britain. Among some of his proudest achievements were the lighting through the Clyde Tunnel, the floodlighting of Glasgow Cathedral, and the development of sodium linear discharge lamps, the standard for the motorways of the day.

However, some of his most satisfactory work was done as ''The Man Who Brought the Angels to George Square'' when, in the early 1960s, he introduced Christmas lighting to the streets of Glasgow (a co-operative venture involving the city corporation, city traders, and his own lighting department). Lighting up Argyle Street, Sauchiehall Street, Buchanan Street, Renfield Street, and George Square, the project brought people in their thousands into the city at Christmas.

Before his retirement from Glasgow lighting department he managed the transition into the new Strathclyde Region and was appointed deputy director, roads/ lighting. On his retirement from the public sector, he took up a two-year appointment as technical adviser to CU Phosco Lighting, an appointment that lasted 17 years, until his 82nd birthday (his ''premature'' retirement a result of injury).

In the early nineties, Mr Colvin was awarded the Distinguished Service Certificate from the British Standards Institution for ''his valued contribution to the Development

of British European and International Standards''.

He is survived by two sons, two daughters, 12 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.