TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular Hoylake man who died on a railway line last week.

Clive Hanlon, 52, was hit by the West Kirby service as he crossed tracks at an unmanned level crossing at Melrose Avenue at lunchtime on Monday, January 21.

An inquest into his death was opened and adjourned on Friday afternoon, and his funeral service will take place next Wednesday, February 6, at Landican Cemetery, starting at 3pm.

Mr Hanlon - known locally as "Clivo" - used to be employed as a shot blaster for local firm Gunform, but had not worked in recent years due to ill health.

Close friend Leigh Mountford, licensee of The Lake pub in Lake Place, Hoylake, described him as "a real character" who will be missed deeply.

"An awful lot of people will be upset because Clive had such a lot of friends," she said. "He was a lovely man, really special, an absolute one off.

"He didn't really care about what he would say - he was a very quick wit with a very dry, very funny sense of humour.

"He hadn't been very well but he never lost that way about him. You could always raise a smile from him."

She added: "Clivo had the same routine every night.

"He loved his soap operas and so he'd sit at home watching those in the early evening, and then without fail, every night, he would walk into the pub at exactly four minutes past nine.

"All of the staff here and the regulars are in shock, really. It's very hard to try to take in such terrible news.

"We all keep expecting to see him walk through the door at 9.04pm as usual."

Miss Mountford said Mr Hanlon was close to his elderly mother, Wilma, who also lives in Hoylake. "He absolutely adored her," she said.

Mr Hanlon's brother, Mark, has flown in from America to attend the funeral.

"Everyone who knew Clive will miss him immensely," she added.

"He was a fine friend and a real character."

The former factory worker was struck by the train near Melrose Avenue, between Manor Road and Hoylake stations, at 12.52pm last Monday.

It is the second death at an unmanned pedestrian crossing in Hoylake in six months.

In July, 80-year-old Jean Wilson was struck by a train as she crossed the tracks at Sandringham Avenue with her dog, Poppy.

Hoylake and Meols councillor Gerry Ellis has long been campaigning for safety to be improved at the unmanned crossings.

But a spokesman for track operators Network Rail said the crossings were as safe as possible.

"Our concern is that people can be slightly complacent when using the crossings, possibly becoming blase because they know the train timetable and the area," he said.

British Transport Police are not treating the death as suspicious.