A family has paid a loving tribute to a popular Sunderland shop owner after his death.
Anthony Anderson, known to his friends as Tony, was a familiar face behind the counter of the city’s Booze Buster store in Chester Road.
The 63-year-old, from Thorney Close, lost his fight for life on January 16 after suffering heart failure.
He had previously been receiving treatment for an infection in his foot, which had been brought on by his diabetes.
Tony’s youngest son Daniel said: “He was a big guy, a larger than life character. You heard him before you saw him.
“He was very sociable and full of life, he loved his kids and grandkids.
“We’d always be out being taken to different places and doing things.
“He had been in hospital after his diabetes caused an infection in his foot.
“We had been painting his bedroom ready to come home when we were told he had taken a turn for the worse. He died in his sleep in the early hours.”
As a youngster, Tony was a keen runner and sportsman.
He ran with Sunderland Harriers and played rugby for Houghton. He also played squash and took part in athletics.
Before taking over the shop, he worked at Rolls Royce in Pallion. It was during a union meeting at the factory where he met his wife Valerie.
The couple went on to take over the Booze Buster store.
Daniel added: “He was well known in the shop and was committed to his work. He worked all different times, he was very sociable with his customers and would always have time to chat with them.
“We knew he was very poorly due to his diabetes and when he stopped eating, I think we all knew he was struggling.
“He was such a big part of our lives and he’s such a huge miss to us all.”
A service will take place at Sunderland Crematorium on February 13 at 1pm, followed by a wake at the Stumble Inn on Chester Road. The family request donations in lieu of flowers to he RVI Children’s Cancer Unit.
Tony leaves behind wife Valerie, sons Daniel, Nikki and Lee and grandchildren, Ruby 10 and Scarlett, nine.