The family of a man simply described as “the best dad you could have asked for” has paid tribute to him.

Malcolm Pope of Upwell was known to many people through working in the coal industry, and his time playing sports such as football, darts and dominoes.

His son Martin said: “He was a father figure to many people, and a legend.”

Malcolm died aged 77 last month after a battle with cancer.

Born in Friday Bridge on December 18, 1944, Malcolm attended Upwell Primary School before moving onto the village’s Secondary Modern School.

Known to many as ‘Mally’ or ‘Malc’, he started to work for coal merchant John Floyd when he was around 14 to 15-years-old.

Wendy, Malcolm’s wife whom he married in 1967, said: “He was a coal delivery man.

“When he first went to John Floyd, he left and worked for Roger Hartley farms for around two years before he went back to John.”

Malcolm never had far to travel to work, and later moved onto Bryan Cater near Downham Market.

But it was as a coal delivery driver where many knew Malcolm, not just because he was doing his job.

“He did not just drop off a bag of coal; there was a laugh involved,” Jayne, Malcolm’s daughter, said.

“He was the best dad you could have asked for."

A loyal Manchester United fan, perhaps one of Malcolm’s fondest memories was meeting legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson while he was in charge at Old Trafford.

And as well as playing local football for Lakes End until he was 41, he was also a fan of playing darts and dominoes at his local pub, The Globe Inn at Upwell.

“He was honest, hardworking and a traditional man,” said Martin.

“I don’t think there is anyone that knew him and had a bad word to say about him.”

Wendy said she has received over 110 sympathy cards following Malcolm’s death, a sign of how popular he was in and around Upwell.

She said: “He had a wonderful smile, sense of humour and his laugh was infectious.”

Jayne added that her father was “a village character.

“He had a brilliant laugh; even to the end, he still had a sense of humour and that never left him.”

Malcolm leaves behind a daughter, son and three grandchildren.

A fundraiser has been set up for the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity who funded Malcolm's care - to donate, visit: