DEVASTATED family and friends led the tributes after the shock death of much-loved Uppermill butcher Paul Lowcock.
Paul, who was in his 50s, died on February 2 after being taken ill suddenly in January.
The family told the Independent: “His first and last love Gill and his family and all his friends are devastated at this time and will keep all his friends informed of the funeral arrangements.
“He was an icon in the village and will always be remembered.
“His shop will continue to trade as Paul would want that.”
Paul ran Paul’s Quality Meats in the village since 1990, first launching in the former Spar store before moving five years later into the current corner shop just down the road.
He was also a stalwart community champion and was heavily involved in local fundraising projects, especially through Saddleworth Round Table for more than 15 years.
Paying tribute, they wrote on their Facebook page: “Paul threw himself into fundraising initiatives that have in turn donated hundreds of thousands of pounds for our community.
“Paul leaves this earth before his time, has served as a great friend, sounding board and local hero. He will very much be missed.”
Hundreds of tributes were paid by locals on social media after the news.
Chris Pogson wrote: “Always smiling, what a lovely man, so sad” while Daniel Corless added: “Top man, you will be missed.”
And Joanne Foster said: “Such sad news. What a lovely guy. Always had a cheeky smile on his face. He’s going to be missed by so many people.”
• Funeral arrangements are yet to be confirmed but a notice will be put in the shop once finalised.