THE beloved and well-known funeral director Arthur William Mays has died just over a week before his 93rd birthday.

Mr Mays died at his home on September 14 surrounded by his family.

Known as one of Westbury’s true gentlemen, he was loved by many and will be greatly missed by all.

Born in Monkton Farleigh on September 25, 1924, Mr Mays spent his childhood there and went to school in Trowbridge.

Mr Mays moved to Heywood where he met the love of his life, Ivy Louisa.

They moved in with her parents for a year and got married in Heywood Parish Church on December 30, 1944.

The newly married couple settled into their new home in Gibbs Close in Westbury, where they lived all their lives.

Mr Mays then shortly went off to war where he worked as a mechanic on Spitfires.

He then worked for a carpenters in Westbury before becoming a fire officer and setting up his successful business, Arthur W Mays Funeral Directors, which he ran for around 50 years.

Anne Adams, 71, lived next door to Mr and Mrs Mays since she was a little girl, and with the help of her daughter Charlotte, cared for them both for many years.

Mrs Adams said: “He was very well known in Westbury, and everyone new him as the lovely man he was.

“He was such a people’s man, he would work so hard through the night making coffins for babies which he wouldn’t even charge for, and if anyone didn’t have enough money for his services he would always help them out.

“He was such a generous man, I have never met anyone quite like him, he was the father I never had.”

Both Anne’s mother and sibling died during childbirth when she was just 11, and she was being cared for by her grandmother when she lived next door to Mr and Mrs Mays.

They helped young Anne with her grief and cared and loved for her as their own. She was the daughter they never had. Mrs Mays died seven years ago.

The company will now be run by Mrs Adams’ sons, Trevor, Steven, Martin and Anthony, as it has been for the last couple of years.

A funeral service will be held at All Saints Church in Westbury on October 10 at 11am. Flowers from family only, and donations will go to The Bath Cats and Dogs Home in Claverton Down.