TRIBUTES have been paid to a stalwart of grassroots football in Wirral after his death aged 56.

Colin Longshaw, who has passed away following a long illness, was the leading light behind Birkenhead-based Shore Villa Football Club which he took over following the death of his father and founder, Ernie Longshaw.

Tom Potter, league secretary, Wallasey and District Sunday Football League, said: "Colin was the mainstay of the club and all its teams, from junior and youth level to open age, and proved to be a rock as he displayed a diligent and caring attitude to every team within the club.

"Colin will always be remembered for being a true gentleman and helpful to anyone who needed it, by showing compassion and honesty of the highest level and leadership that helped many young players begin their footballing adventures.

"As the league secretary, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to his wife Jean and his son and daughter on behalf of the league and express sincere regret at the loss of such a well respected man and volunteer who donated umpteen years supporting local football within the Wirral and indeed the County of Cheshire."