TRIBUTES have been pouring in for Harmonica Man Michael Thomas Nelder, who died earlier this week aged 83.

Members of the public have been laying flowers at the spot outside Primark on Regent Street where he used to entertain shoppers.

An online fundraiser started by his friend Ferdie Oliveira to help cover his funeral costs and give Michael a proper send-off has passed its target and currently stands at more than £5,000.

Nearly 500 people donated in the four days since it was created. As well as money donations, messages have also been posted from his appreciative audience.

Francesca Nightingale-Ewing wrote: “I have seen this man in the town centre throughout my life growing up in Swindon. He brought joy to so many. He deserves a lovely send off, and I’m so proud of this community for raising the amount required.”

Gary Edwards said: “I had the pleasure of many conversations with Michael whilst taking him from Swindon to Cirencester. He loved his films, his dog and cinema - a true gent and one of a kind. Rest in peace Michael keep watching those films up there and playing the harmonica.”

Sarah Potter said: “My little boy used to always stop and listen to the Harmonica Man. And on one occasion he gave my little one a brand-new harmonica in a box from his bag.

My little boy was absolutely delighted and still plays it to this day! What a lovely generous gentleman. Swindon Town will be a poorer place without him.”

Des Young posted: “I passed by Michael only a couple of times. That’s all it took to make a lasting impression on me. A gentleman entertaining passers-by with his harmonica playing.”

Flowers laid at his spot have since been moved, although it is not clear what has happened to them.

Rachael Youd, inSwindon Business Development Manager, said: “The town centre would welcome anyone wanting to lay flowers as a sign of respect for the late Michael Thomas Nelder. He was a much-loved character who bought a smile to the faces of many shoppers in the town centre.”