KIDDERMINSTER'S Rose Theatre has paid tribute to its late patron John Challis who has died from cancer.

Mr Challis, aged 79, was best-known for his portrayal of second-hand car dealer Boycie in the beloved sitcom Only Fools and Horses alongside Sir David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst.

He cancelled a 30-date speaking tour earlier this month due to ill health after one appearance at the Civic in Stourport.

The tour marked 40 years since the Only Fools And Horses first aired.

He was a patron of Kidderminster’s Rose Theatre and helped a Crowdfunder campaign earlier this year to save the venue.

Mr Challis performed at The Rose on many occasions, chatting with fans and having photos taken.

Publicity manager Anne Booth said: "All the members of the Nonentities Society are saddened at the death of John Challis.

"He recorded a video which went a long way to making our Crowdfunder a success.

"That Crowdfunder got the theatre back on its feet.

"He was a very nice and amenable guy. Theatre was always one of his great loves and that's why he was one of our patrons.

"He was supportive when we needed him."

A statement from his family to the PA news agency said: "It is with heavy hearts that we bring you such sad news.

"Our dear friend and yours, John Challis, has died peacefully in his sleep, after a long battle with cancer.

"He will always be loved for being 'Boycie' and leaves a great legacy of work that will continue to bring pleasure and smiles for many years to come.

"Please respect the privacy of John's family and friends at this difficult time, and be assured that in the future there will be an occasion to celebrate John's life - when everyone will be welcome to come along."