TRIBUTES have been paid to a North Yorkshire man, who was able to enjoy a family reunion in his final months.

Thomas Kellett, of Hunsingore, near Wetherby, had six children with wife Mollie, all of whom made the journey from Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and London, to celebrate the couple's 60th wedding anniversary.

The couple's six children had not been together for more than 27 years, and eight of their 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren also made the journey for the surprise visit - which was held in London and included an afternoon on a private boat ride on the Thames.

Daughter Wendy said: "We were surprised that we managed to keep the secret, but we did and it was the most wonderful weekend. Even the weather was one our side."

Mr Kellett lived all of his life in York, worked as a butchers apprentice, fireman on the steam engines and as a builder’s labourer.

When he retired, he travelled extensively with Mollie, visiting their children and sightseeing, and enjoying football - even playing for the British Sugar teams until he was 52 years old.

Son Gary Kellett said it was "hard to believe that he was playing rugby with his sons in March, and is now no longer with us".

Son David, who still lives in York, said: "My father was loved by all he met. He was a great neighbour – helping all where he could.

"A fantastic family man and a beloved fun-loving grandfather. He gave us all great values and work ethics, civil courage and an optimistic outlook on life that anything is possible. Most of his children and grandchildren have followed these attributes."

Eldest son Peter, now living in New Zealand, said: "He will be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. Over 100 people attended his funeral, from his early childhood to friends who he danced English Folk Dance with."

Mr Kellett was hospitalised with heart failure in September and discharged into home palliative care several weeks later. He died in November at the age of 84.

Mr Kellett's family said the ambulance workers, care workers, social services, district nurse and Macmillan Nurses all provided great support for the family, and made Mr Kellett as comfortable as possible in his final days.