TRIBUTES have been paid to a very popular village lollipop man with a huge heart.

Keith Littleton, who lived in Shotton Colliery, is remembered by many as "a huge part of the community who had a massive heart".

He was born in Stoke and moved up to County Durham on a transfer to the coal mines, he took the crossing patrol job after he retired.

He worked at Shotton Primary School where his wife was a cleaner for more than 30 years.

They were married for more than 40 years and loved to travel together – they had plans to do something special for their 40th wedding anniversary but unfortunately because of coronavirus those plans were put on hold. Luckily, they managed to get to Eastbourne for a few days before the lockdown.

Mr Littleton tended his allotment garden for more than 40 years and even ran an allotment shop and joined a leek growing club.

His wife, Stella, said: “He was very popular; he touched the hearts of many people and was such a genuine person. He would do anything for anyone even if it he was ill.

“He had so many hobbies to keep him going, his allotment was the main focus and he used to make soup and jams.

“Everything we did we did together. I couldn’t have picked a better husband. We are continuing his garden in his memory.”

Mr Littleton continued his school crossing patrols through rain and shine until the lockdown, but had no plans to stop despite his cancer diagnosis. Even through cold weather he would help the children across the road.

Shotton Primary School headteacher Heather Shaw said: “There was not a nasty bone in his body. The pupils thought the world of him and he would do anything to help, even dressing as Santa for a last minute event.

“Keith truly cared and made sure that every child and parent knew that he was genuinely pleased to see them every day, with many of our children excited to say hello or give him their best high five.”

“There is now a big hole in not only the school community, but the village as well.”

His funeral took place on Saturday, May 9.

The children of Shotton Primary School paid their respects by lining the streets.

The funeral passed his allotment and stopped outside school on the crossing he once patrolled.