TRIBUTES have been paid to respected business man Tony Wooster who died last week at the age of 80.

Tony, of Stratton, who was well known in Swindon thanks to a long career in the motor industry, was still working at the family-run Lower Stratton Service Station at Christmas.

He was popular among his customers for his honesty, encouragement and confidence.

In a tribute from all of his family, daughter Linda, 53, said: “He was well known and respected by all for his incredible style and integrity.

“He always had time to listen and offer honest advice, even if it wasn’t always what we wanted to hear. His confidence and belief in others was admirable and he always encouraged and believed that anybody could achieve and follow their dreams.”

Tony began his business life while still at school by visiting the rubbish dump and picking up any scrap bicycle parts so he could build up bikes to sell.

His first job came at the age of just 14, working as a delivery boy at the RAF Watchfield in the motor transport section.

He left after three years to become a motor mechanic at Roger Simpsons in Coleshill, where they repaired anything mechanical from farm vehicles to cars.

It was here that he taught himself to drive. He borrowed the boss’ car to drive to Swindon where he had never been before to take his test, stopping off on the way to buy a set of L plates – and passed first time.

After spending two years in the army, Tony had numerous jobs before doing shift work at Vickers Armstrong. He would collect old cars, break them down and sell them for spares. This unique vision was just the start of Tony’s many successful years in the motor trade.

He worked as a car salesman at Coronation Cars for Ivor Pearce, then went into partnership, setting up Sunrise Motors at Swindon Road in Stratton. It was dissolved in 1961.

He later took the brave step out on his own and rented Broad Street Motors and Wellington Street Motors, before a premises came up for sale in Westcott Place which Tony bought and established his first business A.L.W. Motors, which he ran successfully for years.

In 1974, he sold Westcott Place and rented Lower Stratton Service Station, then a Texaco petrol station. He later went on to buy the freehold and it is still run as a family business today by sons Gary and Keith. As well as running the business and having three children, Tony and his wife Kath also had seven grandchildren.

Linda said: “Tony’s confidence, ambition and persistence in business allowed him to provide the lifestyle he wanted for his family who were always his main priority.

“Bringing up a family and running a business kept them very busy. But Tony always made time to support the local speedway team at Blunsdon, as well as supporting the local cycle speedway team at the Oasis.

“Tony was a true family man, one of his favourite occasions being the annual Christmas holidays spending quality time with the family by the sea, entertaining them and staff with his quirky sense of humour.

“In between working and holidaying, he always had a project, everything from the grandchildren’s tree houses and playhouses to garden fences, as well as the annual themed bonfire night, which was put on for his loyal customers.”

The funeral is at St Margaret’s Church, Stratton, on Monday at 11am. Family flowers only but donations can be made to Prospect Hospice or Merchiston Surgery c/o Co-operative Funeralcare, 439 Cricklade Road, Swindon.