TRIBUTES have poured in for Horsefair's Mr Soul Man who lost his battle with cancer this week - at the age of 66.

Francis Terry Thomas - also known by many as Mr Tee - who owned Mister Tee's Rock Stop, in Blackwell Street, passed away on May 30.

Following a battle with bowel and lung cancer, doctors discovered a mass on his spine which Mr Thomas underwent an 11-hour operation to try and remove it.

But, his health deteriorated in recent weeks and he passed away surrounded by his close family, while listening to one of his favourite songs by the Carstairs.

Mr Thomas moved to Kidderminster from Manchester in the 1970s with his work with GKN. He had spent many years attending soul music events and selling records to DJs.

He started his business in Kidderminster in 1977, before opening the first Mister Tee's Rock Stop in Horsefair in 1978.

Terry Hodges, managing director of Mister Tee's and who worked alongside Mr Thomas for many years, said: "Music and soul was always a big passion of his.

"He started off the shop by wholesaling badges and sold them all over the world. Then one day someone came into the store with a box records and it started from there.

"He worked with so many artists over the years including Michael Jackson, UB40 and the Specials.

"He had bowel cancer in June 2015 and he got the all clear then. But a very small spot on his lung had grown by February 2017.

"He started to have mobility issues around six weeks ago, which we thought was a trapped nerve but it turned out to be a cancer mass on his spine and he underwent an 11-hour operation to remove it. He came through that in April.

"He seemed in good spirits - he'd beat the cancer once.

"But then it really went rife. It all happened so fast - over the last few weeks really.

"He was in a lot of pain but he was still having a laugh and a joke with you in his last days."

As well as his music store, Mr Tee was a DJ all around Manchester, and then across the Midlands when he moved down to Kidderminster. He also had a record label - Real Side Records - which recently had a number one record in America.

Mr Hodges added: "He was a very popular man in the community.

"The music industry has a great big gap in it now. The knowledge he had of music, was across a whole spectrum.

"He was certainly one of life's characters. He would do anything for anyone else - he was very kind-hearted.

"The shop was his passion - he loved seeing people on a daily basis. Robert Plant was a good friend of his.

"Mr Tee would be in the shop everyday. He loved to meet people and chat about soul music.

"It would be nice if we could get a plaque or something in the Horsefair to remember him by. But we will carry on Mister Tee's Rock Stop in his memory."

Mr Thomas leaves behind his sister Kathleen, one niece, four nephews and four great-nephews.

Readers took to the Shuttle Facebook page to pay tribute to Mr Tee after it was announced he had passed away.

Mike Wyer said: "RIP Mr Tee. Many happy hours browsing and buying and listening to his sage advice on what's worth listening too. Fancy dress for our kids birthday parties too."

Jo Toyne said: "I've known Terry my whole life. He was a genuinely lovely man who will be missed. RIP Mr Tee."

Karen Windridge added: "So sad to hear this, I spent many happy hours in his shop (once climbing over loads of records etc to get through the door) the Horsefair will never be the same again.

"RIP Mr Tee you will be missed. Sincere condolences to your family and friends."