TRIBUTES have been paid to the chairman of a Bolton steelworks company who has died aged 89.

Harry Peers lived in Bolton for 74 years before moving to Stourton, Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire, where he was buried following a funeral attended by his family.

Mr Peers took over Harry Peers Steelwork following the death of his father, also Harry — who founded the company in 1933 — in 1953.

His son Michael entered the business in 1978 and became managing director of the firm in Elton Street in 1982.

“Everything my father did was based around his family and his business,” said Michael, aged 59.

“He was a very private person and he wasn’t one for joining clubs although he was a member of Bolton Golf Club for 50 years, but in the last 20 years I don’t think he visited more than twice.

“I remember my father bringing me down to the factory when I was five or six and there was the smell of oil and machinery and everything looked massive.

“He was devoted to all his family and one thing everyone will remember about him was his love for life and laughter and his ability to be truly charming. His joke telling was legend.”

One of Mr Peers’ proudest achievements, said Michael, was the construction of a factory in Sheffield for Firth Brown Engineering, a deal he clinched with leading consultant engineer Sir Charles Husband while wearing his bowler hat.

“That was how things were done in those days,” said Michael. “It was through Sir Charles that we were asked to help out at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire in the 1980s.

“When a strong wind was blowing, it was rocking the 1,500 ton viewing dish and it was feared it may fall down.

“Sir Charles asked my father to help and we worked round the clock to stabilise it.”

“My father ran the family business for almost 50 years.

“He succeeded in ensuring that the business developed and survived some extremely challeng-ing times.”

Mr Peers was a one-time chairman of the British Constructional Steelwork Association.

He leaves a wife, Jean, and two other children, Anna Maclean and Bernice Peers who also works in the business, and four granddaughters.