TRIBUTES have been paid to retired Black Country businessman and much-loved community stalwart Joe Green following his sudden death at the age of 87.

Joe passed away on January 30 just two years after retiring as centre manager at Age Concern Stourbridge and Halesowen’s Elton Centre where he had helped to brighten up the lives of the borough's elderly for 17 years.

Before taking on the job when most people would have been thinking of retiring, he had worked as a marketing executive for Merry Hill - having been headhunted by the Richardsons in the shopping destination’s early days.

Prior to that he'd spent many years running family coach firm Green’s Tours and Travel in Silver End, Brierley Hill, after serving in the Royal Air Force, and it was his travel background that steered him towards introducing the first minibuses to Merry Hill and to launch black cab firm Waterfront Cars - the first in the area to introduce wheelchair adapted vehicles.

He also ran a chauffeur service from The Copthorne - driving the hotel’s VIP guests including Lenny Henry, Dawn French, Tommy Steel and Wet Wet Wet's Marti Pellow to venues in Birmingham.

Brierley Hill-born Joe was even responsible for driving coaches for the showbiz football team when they visited the Midlands. He became friendly with many old stars and stayed in touch with a number of them.

Joe also served three terms as a Conservative councillor for Brierley Hill town from 1958 and he was the long-serving president of Brierley Hill and District Committee for the Welfare of the Blind, which was founded by his father Joseph Green in 1947.

Multi-talented Joe was also known for playing the piano accordion which he often entertained people with at Age Concern's Elton Centre before he retired in December 2016.

His daughter Nicki Mathers said her dad's death had been a "tremendous shock".

She said: "He was exceptionally fit, he had a razor sharp wit and was very active – and that was the case pretty much until the end."

Joe suffered a cardiac arrest at his home at Kinver on January 29 and despite the efforts of medics who tried to revive him he died the following day in Russells Hall Hospital.

Nicki said: "He'd been so active and had such an interesting life - you couldn't hope for more."

She added: "We have been absolutely amazed by the messages that have come back from people in the community and further afield who knew him well in his working life."

She said her father had been blessed with "an innate gift of being able to command people's attention" but she added: "He was a man who would always listen - he'd always make time for people."

Brian Mitchell, company secretary of Age Concern Stourbridge and Halesowen where Joe had run a holiday club for seniors, described Joe as "a great raconteur" and he said: "He was truly a man of the community who achieved much, and gave more."

Mark Williams, vice chairman of the Evergreen Club at Age Concern Stourbridge and Halesowen, added: "Joe was always pleased to meet and greet people and make them welcome. He had a seemingly endless fund of stories, which he told with a wry sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye.

"His positive outlook on life never waned. Joe had a love of life that was infectious and made him a wonderful companion. He will be remembered for his love of community, his sense of fun, his love for his family, and his old fashioned but admirable sense of duty. He will be sadly missed."

In the 12 months prior to his death Joe realised the charity for the blind that he had been president of since 1962 would likely cease to exist without him so from funds held donations were made to other good causes working to help the blind.

A £5,000 donation made to Guide Dogs for the Blind enabled the charity to buy a Guide Dog puppy which was named PJ after Joe's late son Peter Joseph who died in 2016, aged just 55, after a battle with facial cancer which caused him to lose an eye.

A donation was also made to Blind Veterans UK and to help 16-year-old blind Wordsley schoolgirl Poppie-Mai Crampton to buy musical instruments so she could learn to play music. A further donation was also recently made to buy a second Guide Dog puppy.

As well as his only daughter Nicki - Joe is survived by his wife Carol, two step-sons and 12 grandchildren.

His funeral will be held on Monday February 25 at 2.10pm at Gornal Wood Crematorium.

Relatives have requested family flowers only. Donations, which will be split between various charities close to Joe's heart, can be made via H Porter & Sons Donation Account, Old Church House, 60 South Road, Stourbridge DY8 3UJ.