TRIBUTES have been paid to ‘much-loved’ Prees businessman Harry West, who has died aged 95.

Harry was known to many as the founder of his own agricultural machinery business in 1966, with the equipment bearing his name and a distinctive blue livery.

But Harry lived a richly varied life, including serving in the Royal Navy during the D-Day Landings in 1944 and almost signing for Tottenham Hotspur.

Harry’s daughter Val led the tributes, describing her father as a ‘hard-working’ family man.

“Average in stature but strong in body and mind, at only 18 years he served in the Royal Navy,” said Val.

“He played his part in the D-Day invasion, serving on a landing craft ferrying men, many Americans, to Omaha beach.

“Undoubtedly many lives were lost and he was one of the few D-Day veterans left.

“He was to visit the Normandy beaches again along with other veterans, a trip organised by the Royal British Legion.

“He was also awarded the French Legion of Honour medal.”

Val says that as well as his military career, Harry nearly began a sporting career with a big name.

“He was very sporty, playing football for local teams and Oswestry and Wellington,” added Val. “He was even scouted by Spurs and almost signed professional papers.”

While his professional football career may not have taken off, the company that still bears his name was coming to fruition.

“He worked for a while at Rubery Owen but all his spare time was spent building his own business,” Val explained.

“One which grew into a well known manufacturing agricultural machinery business.

“He also won many gold medals for his machines, one was presented by Prince Phillip.”

Val also paid tribute to the personal side of Harry and said he would be a much-missed character.

“Although a hard-working man, his family always came first,” she said.

“A much-loved husband, dad, grandad, great grandad and great great grandad who will be sadly missed by all.”