TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of a former stable owner whose affinity with animals earned him a reputation as a real character.
Jack Thorpe-Foulsham, who would have been 94 in November, owned Jack's Riding Stables, in Fore Street, Eastcote, from 1973 until six years ago.
He died peacefully at 8.15am on Tuesday last week after battling prostate cancer, chronic arthritis and heart problems.
Described by family and friends as a modern day Doctor Dolittle, Mr Thorpe-Foulsham, who lived in Rui-slip for more than 61 years, developed his love of animals, especially dogs and horses, when he was growing up in Dover.
Daughter, Jan Ballard, said that although the family were understandably devastated by their loss, they had many happy memories.
She said: "My father was a real larger than life character - he always had a smile on his face and I really admired his ability to make light of almost any situation.
"He was affectionately known as The Colonel, as he was regularly seen wearing a bowler hat, and a big smile as he roamed the streets of Ruislip with his horse and carriage, and I think he quite enjoyed the rapport he built up with residents, especially children.
"He undoubtedly had a real gift with animals - even when his health was deteriorating and he was in a wheel-chair, horses would come and nuzzle his hand.
"He loved his horses more than most human beings and I think everyone who knew him would testify to that."
Mr Thorpe-Foulsham married his childhood sweetheart, Edith, now 90, in 1939.
They have three children, eight grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.
Long time friend, Betty Walley, said: "Everyone who knew Jack will be sad to hear that he has passed away. He was such a familiar sight locally."
Mr Thorpe-Foulsham's funeral service will take place at 1.30pm on Friday at Breakspear Crematorium, followed by a wake in The Plough, in Bury Street, Ruislip. Everyone is wel-come to attend.