TRIBUTES have been paid to a Royal British Legion stalwart who was killed in a road accident in Rishton.

Widower Frank Fielding, 80, was hit by a car as he crossed the High Street and later died in hospital.

Mr Fielding has been described as a ‘true gentleman’ who was well known as Rishton legion’s former Standard Bearer.

The long-serving member of the town’s RBL branch had spent years supporting poppy campaigns and would bear the standard at memorial day parades.

Mr Fielding also took part in honouring fallen servicemen and women at military funerals, and was the standard bearer at the funeral of marine David Fairbrother at Blackburn Cathedral this month.

Former Hyndburn mayor and family friend Paul Barton was at the scene of the accident on Tuesday, but did not know the identity of the victim until yesterday.

He said the Rishton Conservative Club member had lived to serve his community.

“Frank is known by everyone in Rishton and I have known him my whole life as he was a good friend of my father's,” he said.

“He is so popular with everyone because he is a lovely man.

“It’s a tragedy. He thought of the people of Rishton as his family.”

The former serviceman who served in the Royal Horseguards for 10 years based in Chelsea and Windsor, also took on the maintenance of the bowling green at Rishton Conservative Club.

The club’s bowling secretary Jim Norris said: “The Conservative Club was his hub and everyone there knew him.

"He was like an odd-job man about the place, nothing was too much trouble.”

Rishton Royal British Legion chairman Ian Broxton said: “He was well known as being hard of hearing and he always sat against the back wall in the Conservative Club.

"When people were leaving they would say goodbye by stamping on the floor so he could feel the vibrations.

"He would then laugh and wave. He was a real character.”

Rishton RBL secretary Carol Green said: “He was a gentleman who was loved by everyone and will be truly missed.”

A statement from Frank's family said: "Frank will be very sadly missed by his close family, daughters Mandy and Pam, son Mark and his five grandchildren."

Police are appealing for witnesses to the accident at 5pm on Tuesday.

The driver of the car was also injured and was taken to hospital.

Any information can be passed to police on 01254 51512 or via 0845 125 3545.