FRIENDS, colleagues and politicians have paid tribute to a "real community champion" who died after being struck by a car in the town to which he devoted so much.

Well-respected Westhoughton stalwart Harold Daniels had been chairman of Westhoughton Community Network since it began nearly five years ago and was a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Westhoughton.

He lived with wife Audrey in Spindle Walk, Westhoughton, and had two grown-up children and grandchildren.

The 82-year-old activist and MBE recipient died after being struck by a car at 11.10am in Chorley Road, Westhoughton, on Saturday.

In a statement, Westhoughton Community Network (WCN) said: "He was very active within the community, and very proud of what we achieved by bringing these groups together, promoting, sharing and doing things together, making Westhoughton a very special place.

"A Rotarian, many will have seen him out and about at Christmas as part of the Santa float, often donning his costume (white beard not needed), raising many thousands of pounds over the years to be given out to local charities in March.

"With his fellow Rotarians, he was involved in organising the annual St George's Day party for OAPs at Brookfield Hall,

"He was a trustee for Senior Solutions, a visiting service for the elderly.

"He championed the establishment of a local Foodbank network, helping with the collection rota supporting Urban Outreach, in turn supporting the poor and those in need.

"He was very much part of and passionate about our community.

"As chairman of our network meetings he brought his sense of humour, conviviality and some order to the disparate groups that make up the network.

"Always appreciative of new faces; forever promoting WCN as something to be involved with.

"A great friend of the community; it is a big loss — tragic and unexpected.

"Harold was a real character, and someone who was much-liked and respected by those that knew him."

Mr Daniels grew up in Bolton and attended Brandwood Community School in Daubhill and then Bolton County Grammar School and remained involved in Melbourne Road Methodist Church in Willows Lane, Deane, even after relocating to Westhoughton.

It is testament to how well known and respected he was in his adopted town that so many community groups, such as Wingates Brass Band, Women of Westhoughton and Westhoughton Active Communities Organisation, paid tribute to the 82-year-old online.

Ronald Bell, publicity officer and past president of the Rotary Club of Westhoughton, said: "We remember him as an active and cheerfully hard-working leader of Westhoughton Rotary Club, always at the heart of everything.

"He was an inspiration to us all but much more than that a kind and supportive friend.

"He's been an active member of Rotary since 1990 and served as president in our golden jubilee year of 1998/9."

Mr Bell added: "It's absolutely awful news, and an shock.

"He knew so many people and was liked by so many."

Mr Daniels took the lead in organising the club's annual spring party for older people and its winter celebratory concert called Rotary Christmas Music and was a familiar face on the town's streets as Father Christmas on the Rotary fundraising sleigh.

Councillor Ryan Battersby, a Labour councillor and leader of Westhoughton Town Council, said: "I'm very sad to learn of the death of Harold Daniels.

"A true community champion and fundraiser, Father Christmas, Rotarian and gentlemen.

"Harold's kindness and humour will be what I remember him most for."

Traffic police continue to appeal for witnesses and dash cam footage to Mr Daniels' fatal accident.

He was crossing the road on foot when he was hit by a red Citroen C2 travelling from the direction of Horwich and Blackrod towards Westhoughton.

Anyone with information should contact GMP's Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 0161 856 4741.