TRIBUTES have been paid to ‘one of the most popular men in Chard’ who is also credited with keeping the town’s British Legion branch running for more than a decade.

Howard White died on February 18, at 87 years of age.

He became a famous face behind the counter of White’s Fish and Chips, where he started working at just 15 and spent five decades.

Although he retired at 65, Howard continued to be a big part of the community, serving multiple roles in the Royal British Legion branch.

He is survived by his wife Edna and son Philip.

“During his decline in general health, which restricted his ability to be out and about in town, we have been touched by the number of people that have asked after him, and, indeed, the amount of cards and expressions of support that we have received since his passing,” said Philip.

Howard was first invited to become the Chard RBL treasurer by John Gudge, and the pair’s friendship kept the branch afloat for many years.

John said: “My earliest memory of Howard was when we first came to Chard in 1966.

“When we started buying fish and chips we saw this gentleman who bent over backwards for his customers.

“Howard was such a well known person around town. He was one of the most popular people in Chard.

“He was a good man and a good friend, always with a little funny quip, telling jokes.”

Howard only took two years break from behind the counter, in 1952 and 1953, for his national service.

John added: “Many years down the line, I was invited to be the chairman of the British Legion branch.

“When the treasurer resigned, someone suggested we get Howard White on board, and he then spent more than 15 years doing that job.

“On top of that, he took over the membership secretary role, and when the poppy appeal organiser resigned for ill health, Howard just said, ‘I can do that’.

“He filled these three roles without any qualms or anything like that. If it wasn’t for him, I do not think the branch would exist now.”

John served for 22 years and Howard filled multiple positions for 15 years.

His son Philip added: “Not only was he involved with RBL for a long time - including in the Poppy Appeal for around 14 years - but he also supported fundraising for the Royal Air Forces Association, since it was with the RAF he served.”

Howard was born in Chard, lived there his whole life, and spent 50 years in the chip shop on Boden Street.

John said: “Howard always had a big smile on his face, no matter what condition he was in.

"When I saw him it always gave me a big lift.”