A POET who earlier this year realised a lifelong dream of having his work published has died, aged 91.

Bill Austin, of Bute Road, Shadsworth, overcame arthritis to publish ‘If You Don’t Like Poetry Read This’ with the help of his neighbour Amanda Chinery.

The great grandad, who was also an inventor, died in hospital last week and leaves children Maureen, Terry and Lynda, and five grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Mr Austin was a radio engineer who was once a specialist in interpreting high-speed Morse Code messages from German command during the Second World War.

He moved to Blackburn for work 60 years ago and lived in Bute Road for almost all of those years.

Towards the end of his working life he spent 12 years at Donaghadee Carpets in Roman Road until he retired.

A budding inventor, he went on to invent the Stair Aid to help his late second wife Betty after she suffered a stroke and struggled to get around the home.

He later joined forces with fellow inventor Ian Davies to develop a button fastening aid called the Billian, which helps elderly and disabled people get dressed more quickly.

Daughter Maureen Valentine, of Blackburn, paid tribute to a ‘fabulous dad and fabulous grandad’.

She said: “He was a very clever man right to the very end and always had little projects going and kept himself busy.

“He was happy-go-lucky and never had a bad word to say about anyone and spoke to everyone that walked past his house.

“Dad was a very caring man who will be missed by many people, especially his family.”

Last year, Mr Austin met neighbour Amanda who offered her help during snowy winter weather. She got to know the wordsmith and helped him type up his poems into the book.

Amanda said: “I will miss him dearly. It won’t be the same on our street without Bill.”

Mr Austin was also a regular at Shadsworth Community Centre where he regularly read poems to other centre users.

Rachel Clark from the centre said: “He will be sadly missed. We all got on really well with him.”

Mr Austin’s funeral is at Skerton Cemetery in Lancaster on Wednesday at 2pm.