John Barker. Picture: Supplied.

Tribute has been paid to well-known Downham Market businessman, John Barker, who died on Saturday.

Known by many as ‘Mr Downham’, Mr Barker and his late brother Tom built many properties and business premises in the town over the years.

One of his daughters, Annette McNaught, said: “Barker Brothers built two-thirds of Downham. The firm is very well-known in the town.”

Mr Barker, 87, of Bexwell Road, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

He was born and bred in Downham and started his early working life as a blacksmith for R.S. Bennett.

At the age of 19 he was called-up for duty in the army and later returned to his job as a blacksmith before starting out in a long career in building.

Mrs McNaught said her dad was “very upbeat, loved life and people”.

“He was a big personality, always telling stories which made us laugh. We are going to miss him but we are fortunate to have had a man like him in  our lives. He was a one-off,” she said.

Staff at Barker Brothers said he was a much-loved boss who would be sadly missed.

Mr Barker also leaves daughter, Bridget Barker. His funeral service will take place at Downham Market Methodist Church on September 7 at 2.30pm. Donations will be for the British Heart Foundation and Help for Heroes.