TRIBUTES have been paid to world class Brierley Hill hairdresser Trevor Leddington who has died at the age of 74.

The award-winning hair stylist, who worked alongside top names Vidal Sassoon, Raymond and Trevor Sorbie during his lengthy career, died on February 8 - five months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Mr Leddington started his successful business in Brierley Hill High Street in 1961. He initially started out in a small unit above another shop before moving in 1969 to bigger premises on the High Street where the popular salon has remained ever since. He also ran a second salon in Quinton for around a decade from 1980.

But it was on the competition circuit that he really made his name. In 1974, he achieved world champion status when the British team for women’s hair styling won a gold medal in an international competition. That same year he won a coveted gold trophy for ladies’ creative styling as an individual competitor.

Competition success opened doors to many further opportunities and he went on to take part in trade demonstrations across the world.

He also became a trainer, represented Britain at the Skills Olympics, became an international judge, an assessor for City and Guilds and sat on many industry committees.

His son Wayne said: “It was in the 1970s and 80s that he was most successful. Back in those days it was all competitions.”

He said his dad was offered the chance to manage 14 salons in Canada at one stage and he added: “He had lots of opportunities but he always stayed local.”

Such was his esteem in the hairdressing world, Mr Leddington senior was awarded a prestigious award by the National Hairdressers Federation - honouring his lifetime’s dedication to hair styling - which was presented by Trevor Sorbie at a ceremony at Aston Villa in 2012.

Wayne continued: “Although he wasn’t a London hairdresser - he was in that sort of league. He was ambitious but he wasn’t looking for celebrity status. He was quite happy and quietly confident that he knew his industry."

He said his dad ventured into the profession against his father’s wishes and he added: “I think he wanted to be a barber because he didn’t want to work in a foundry as his father did. He started hairdressing in the 1950s when male hairdressing became in vogue.”

His wife Jane, now 72, also started out in hairdressing before branching out into beauty.

Together they had two children - Wayne and Jason, but tragically Jason was killed at the age of 29 in a parachuting accident in 1998.

After more than 50 years in hairdressing, Mr Leddington senior retired in 2009 from his Brierley Hill shop which is now run by surviving son Wayne, aged 51.

But even after handing over the baton - he continued to put the odd shift in at the salon and Wayne said: “He loved his industry and that continued until the week before he died; he was still cutting close friends’ hair at home.”

He described his father as “very charismatic, stylish and handsome" and he added: "He was liked by a lot of people."

As well as hairdressing, Mr Leddington also enjoyed golf, squash, shooting, fishing and sailing and he divided his time between his home in Bewdley and Alicante, Spain, where he owned a yacht.

Wayne said: “He loved life and battled to the end - he just kept thinking he could beat the cancer.”

Tragically he lost his fight against the disease which had affected his bile ducts and he died at the Princess of Wales Community Hospital, Bromsgrove.

Some years earlier he had in fact met Diana, Princess of Wales, when she opened Mary Stevens Hospice in Stourbridge in 1992.

Mr Leddingon, a keen fundraiser for the hospice and other causes, had been on the welcoming committee for the Royal visit.

As well as his wife of 52 years and son Wayne - Mr Leddington is survived by his younger brother and sister Terry and Pamela (twins).

His funeral will be held at 11.40am on Tuesday February 28 at Stourbridge Crematorium, followed by a wake at Dunsley Hall. Mourners are urged not to wear black.