TRIBUTES have been paid to a prominent Bolton businessman. 

Jackie Walsh, whose family has owned and run Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe in Churchgate for 121 years, died yesterday morning aged 87.

Mr Walsh had been a baker at the shop since finishing his national service and was head baker right up until 19 years ago, his widow Marie, 81 said.

Mrs Walsh paid tribute to her "wonderful husband" revealing he had been destined to become a lawyer before deciding against life in an office and that the pair were dog lovers, caring for no fewer than 15 Irish Wolfhounds during their 60 years together.

In the last 18 months Mr Walsh's health deteriorated and he spent more and more time at home, but in the week before he died he enjoyed a day out to the cricket club and had been making plans for the shop's 121st anniversary which is later this year.

Mrs Walsh said: "He said, 'I hope the shop keeps going longer'.

"It was his life really."

Mr Walsh's great-aunt and uncle started the shop in 1898 and it has been in the Walsh family ever since, Mr and Mrs Walsh's son Chris now runs the shop.

Mrs Walsh said: "Jackie's always been at the shop until the last few years and it's always been very, very busy down there.

"We always made sure we did a lot with the children and the Irish Wolfhounds."

The pair knew each other when they were younger and became friends after running into each other at the Palais.

When Mrs Walsh was 21 they began courting and in 1961, two years later, they were married. They would have celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary this year.

Mr Walsh had embarked on legal training following his schooling at Stonyhurst College but just after they began courting Mr Walsh was called on to carry out his national service. He was posted with the education corps in Germany.

Mrs Walsh said: "They did office work and he decided he would not carry on doing law, he would go into the family business, and he was until he retired."

Mr and Mrs Walsh showed Irish Wolfhounds for many years even travelling to Ireland to compete.

Their current dog Sam, a spaniel, would follow Mr Walsh around at home and always sit with him if they had guests.

Mr Walsh helped raise money for animal charities including Pet Rehome Bolton, Mrs Walsh said: "He liked to be involved with raising money for them, he was an animal lover."

Mrs Walsh would like Mr Walsh to be remembered for his great sense of humour and his generosity, "he was generous to a fault" she said.

Mr Walsh is survived by his wife; daughter Kay, who lives in Florida; son Chris, who runs the shop; and four grandchildren. His funeral will be arranged in due course.