THE family of a well-loved and well-known Oswestry businessman have paid tribute to a “true gentleman” who died earlier this month.

Bill Woodward, who founded the former Woodward Foods by himself in the late 1950s and then went on to buy the Wynnstay Hotel in Oswestry more than 30 years ago, passed away at home with his family by his bedside on July 1 aged 96.

His eldest son Nigel Woodward, who continued with the family business which is now named Cold Move Limited, spoke to the Advertizer about the man who he describes as an “exceptional father” who was “kind, generous, charming, charismatic, hilarious and a mentor to his family.

“He dedicated his life to his family and business,” he added.

“When he was 19 he got his Royal Air Force (RAF) wings and his American Navy wings in Pensacola in Florida.

“He served the whole of the Second World War and for a couple of years afterwards too.”

Mr Woodward is survived by his wife Joan, 95, to who he would have been married to for 74 years at the end of this month.

Born and bred in Oswestry, he was one of eight children – two who have survived him, Norman, 92 and Ann, 88 – and he also had three sons called Nigel, Tim and Guy, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Speaking of his late father’s popularity, Nigel said: “He had masses of friends. He was very well known in the area and had thousands of employees over the years. He was just loads of fun.”