CHARITY champion Alf Hales - who toured the pubs, chippies and hairdressers of Bolton collecting thousands of pounds for good causes - has died aged 93.
Mr Hales was a familiar face in Little Lever and across Bolton for his fundraising efforts to help people caught up in disasters in far-flung corners of the globe.
Among others, he raised funds for victims of the tsunami in Japan in 2005, and in 2010 he was awarded an MBE by Prince Charles.
He supported other causes closer to home too, including Derian House children’s hospice, the Royal Bolton Hospital and Children In Need, raising more than £50,000.
He died on Friday, August 1, at the Royal Bolton Hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia.
Mr Hales leaves behind his wife, three children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
In his final years, Mr Hales helped look after his wife Eunice, aged 91. They were married for 69 years. His daughter Rosemary Balshaw, aged 66, said: “My father was always caring for others beside himself — he never liked to see people suffering.
“He was a lovely and selfless man. When I was five and had broken my leg and he took me all the way from Farnworth to Little Hulton in a pram so I could see my grandma. That’s the kind of person he was.
“He was there for every disaster — he would be straight out into the village collecting money however he could.”
Mr Hales, who was born on May 22, 1921, worked in the pits and as a firefighter, police officer and a nurse.
Sean Hornby, a former Little Lever councillor, had known Mr Hales for 30 years and was a close friend.
Mr Hornby said: “For me, Alf was one of the stalwarts of Little Lever — he was Mr Little Lever.
“Every time there was a disaster, he would go round chippies, hairdressers, you name it, trying to raise money.
“Alf is one of very few people who nobody had a bad word to say about. There aren’t many people like that.”
Kate Thomas was fundraising manager at the British Red Cross when Mr Hales raised £4,068 for the charity’s Japan Tsunami Appeal nine years ago.
She said: “Alf was a one in a million kind of person. He was so kind and welcoming and, despite his age, he was so active and committed to others.”
Mr Hales’ funeral will be held at St Matthew’s Church in Market Street, Little Lever, on Wednesday at 1pm followed by his cremation at Radcliffe Crematorium.