FRIENDS have been paying tribute to a well-known Bolton butcher who has died aged 94.

Apart from wartime service with the RAF, Hiram Hampson spent his working life running his family's St Helen's Road butchers' shop and then Thornley's Butchers in Bolton town centre.

In his later retirement years he and wife Ella moved from their Wigan Road home to Bakewell's Nursing Home at Junction Road, where he died on December 17.

"He was a friendly person and very sincere," said friend David Leeming.

Mr Hampson was born in 1921 and after leaving school was apprenticed to his father's business, George Hampson & Son - Pork Butchers and Provision Dealers.

When war came, he enlisted in the RAF at the end of 1940 and served as a butcher/cook attached to 454 Squadron throughout the Middle East, eventually being promoted to the rank of Corporal.

After being demobbed in 1947 he gained his master butcher's certificate and took over the family business.

But it was not until 2007 that he received his veteran's medal for his war service from the Duke of Kent.

He and wife Ella, whom he married in 1953, had no children but the pair ran the butcher's shop together until it was made subject to a compulsory purchase order.

They devoted their spare time to walking, St Augustine's Church, Tonge Moor, the Freemasons and charitable work with the Church of England's Children's Society.

Mr Hampson retired at the age of 63 and the couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in 2013.

His funeral eucharist was held at St Augustine's Church on December 29 with the service conducted by Father Tony Davies, assisted by Father David Schofield and was followed by committal at Overdale Crematorium.

Mr Hampson is survived by his wife.