TRIBUTES have been paid to a retired aerospace engineer who collapsed and died suddenly aged 76.

Russell Airey, formerly of Blackburn, was taken ill in Settle, on Friday, March 9, outside the Skipton Building Society.

Born in Mill Hill, he went to Mill Hill St Peter's Primary School and then on to St Mary's Secondary Modern in Dean Street, Blackburn.

On leaving school, Mr Airey trained as a mechanic at Croasdale, Wilkinson and Ireland, in Whalley New Road, Brownhill, Blackburn.

As his career progressed he worked for British Aerospace as an aero engineer at Samlesbury and Warton, then spent more than 30 years working in Saudi Arabia.

On returning to UK he made his home in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and on retirement he moved back to Feniscowles.

A family spokesman said: "Russell enjoyed a pint at his locals, the Feilden's Arms, Feniscowles, and the Butlers Arms, Pleasington. His pastimes included travelling, fishing, walking and visiting the Isle of Man for the TT races.

"After his return to Blackburn wanderlust took over and once again he was on the move, this time to Malvern in Worcestershire and then to Settle.

"He had many friends and family in Blackburn and the surrounding district, whom he visited on a regular basis."

Mr Airey leaves a son, daughter-in-law, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and a brother.