TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular former Halesowen milkman, who has died aged 87.

Ray Shilvock was a Co-op milkman who served Halesowen and the surrounding areas for more than three decades.

The father-of-three and grandfather-of-seven was dedicated to his job and became a well-known character with his many customers.

He always had time for a chat and a cuppa - and even carried out odd jobs for people.

Ray died at his home in High Farm Road on Sunday November 24, after a short illness.

Grandson Daniel Shilvock paid tribute to big-hearted Ray, who he said always had time for people and was larger-than-life, always laughing and smiling.

The 29-year-old, who lives in Manchester, where he is assistant manager at a Screwfix store, said: "Grandad was a lot more than a milkman - he offered a service to the community - he would do odd jobs and have a cup of tea with people - he knew everyone by name.

"He loved the job - he did it 7 days a week 365 days a year for 34 years and only gave it up because he had to care for my nan when she was ill.

"He was a giant of a man, but you could always talk to him."

Tributes also poured in for Ray on the Halesowen Remembered Facebook page, where Daniel posted the news of his passing.

Michelle Powell wrote: "He used to let me ride in his milk float for a little while when I was young.

"Always made me smile. Remember him with fondness."

Ian Andrew Ferrie write: "Sad to hear of Ray's passing.

"He was our milkman from when I was a small boy and he watched me grow up. I used to love the quart bottles of orange juice he used to sell.

"A lovely man, friendly, and a big part of my childhood growing up.

"He will be remembered for ages to come, one of Halesowen's great characters."

Ray retired to care for his wife Irene in the early 1990s after she suffered a stroke, but would still do odd jobs for people and even up to a couple of years ago was visiting an elderly neighbour every week to keep them company.

Irene passed away in 1994.

Growing up in Halesowen Ray helped out at his parent's off licence in Hill Street with his older brother Stan.

Ray, who leaves six great-grandchildren, did national service in the 1950s when he was a chef in the army.

He was stationed in Germany for a time and helped with the clear-up after World War Two.

The funeral will be at Stourbridge Crematorium on Tuesday December 17, at 2.50pm. Anyone is welcome.

Donations can be made to Marie Curie.