TRIBUTES have been paid to former postmaster described as a "true gentleman", who died after a short illness.

Former Tyldesley postmaster Frank Aspinall, 64, passed away on Monday morning.

The lifelong Bolton Wanderers fan tragically died after a short stay in Salford Royal Hospital.

His wife, Val, said: "Frank was a very genuine, family orientated man who loved a night out with his friends.

"He was never one for staying inside, he always thought if you were well enough to go to work you were well enough for a night out.

"He loved being sociable, and he had lots of friends. He was quite short but he had a huge personality.

"We might have worked hard but we played quite hard too."

Mr and Mrs Aspinall ran the post office on Johnson Street for over 30 years, retiring in July 2018.

The pair bought a log cabin in the Lake District five years ago, and had hoped to spend a long and happy retirement visiting the area.

Although that plan has been cut short by Mr Aspinall's tragic death, the couple made the most of their retirement together, spending a lot of time in the national park and in the company of their four children, who all live in the local area.

Mrs Aspinall added: "He never missed a (Wanderers) match, we did all the games and all the cups, and then he took the kids too when they were old enough.

"They used to refuse to go on holiday unless they had the latest kits for the airport, we met so many Wanderers fans in so many places because of it.

"He loved Bolton Wanderers, I met Frank in 1979 and he must have started watching them in the early 70s at least."

The pair met on a night out 41 years ago, and went on to build a life together, marrying and having three daughters and a son.

They have called their house in Tyldesley home for over 25 years, with the property holding lots of fond memories of the devoted dad.

The family have been inundated with support and messages of condolence, from friends, former customers, and neighbours.

Mrs Aspinall added: "The whole thing has come as an awful shock, his condition deteriorated very rapidly and because of this COVID thing we couldn't see him for five or six days until they were sure he didn't have it.

"One thing that's really touched the family is that everybody has spoken about him in the same way, they've all called him a true gentleman.

"People always say very nice things when someone passes away but it's been overwhelming and I had no idea how comforting it is.

"I've had so many people say they wish they could come round for coffee to offer condolences or give me a hug but they can't because of coronavirus.

"Instead, people are having to stand at the end of the drive to talk, it's been very touching and it's nice to know how he was regarded."

Bolton Wanderers Supporters' Trust paid tribute to Mr Aspinall on their Facebook page, which prompted an outpouring of love and support from fellow Wanderers, who celebrated his constant smile, cheer, and friendliness.