SCORES of tributes have been paid to Bromsgrove garden centre owner John Singleton, who has died at the age of 68.

Mr Singleton, who had run Singletons Nurseries, in Lydiate Ash, for most of his adult life, died after a short illness, his family said.

"It is with deep regret and sadness that I am sharing the news that our wonderful John has sadly passed away following a brief illness," his wife Claire wrote on the firm's Facebook page on behalf of the family.

"As a family we are utterly devastated and we ask that our privacy be respected at this extremely difficult time.

"We know many of you knew John well and would want to attend his funeral to pay your respects. We will share details of this as soon as we are able to."

Hundreds of people paid their respects in reply, leading the family to thank everyone for their comments.

The family post added: "Thank you all so much for your lovely comments.

"As you can imagine, this is all rather overwhelming for the family at the moment and it may be quite a long time before they feel able to read them.

"John was such a wonderful man and so very much loved by all who knew him."

A condolence book has been set up at the Nurseries, based on Birmingham Road, for visitors to share their thoughts and memories of John.

John took over the nurseries, renaming it Singletons, from his uncles Charles and Jack Kinder, who originally established the business in 1947 as Kinder Brothers at Harborne Lane Nurseries.

The business moved to its current Lydiate Ash location in 2001 and expanded since, including the opening of The Potting Shed Ca.

In 2017, Singletons won the prestigious award of Best Garden Centre & Nursery in the UK, as voted by their customers.

Many took to Facebook to offer their condolences to the family and pay their respects to Mr Singleton.

Shawn Kearney wrote: "Shocking news. A lovely, warm, intelligent person who clearly loved what he did. A sad time."

"Such sad news, he always had time for me and brightened up my day," added James O'Sullivan.

Joanne Kirby added: "John was loved by so many people. We will miss his jokes and banter around the place."

"So very sad, John was always so happy and chatty whenever we came to visit. And always lovely at the breakfast with santa that we attend each year. So so sorry for your loss," wrote Lyndsay Smirthwaite.