SCRAP metal merchant and prize-winning farmer Thomas Smith has died aged 69, following a short illness.

Mr Smith, known as Tommy, helped run the family business Smiths of Bloxham, as well as a farm and travellers’ site, with sister Pauline and brother Peter.

One of nine children, Tommy started working for the family business when he left school.

His father, also Tom, originally started out as Banbury-based scrap metal merchant T Smith.

He moved the family to Bloxham at the start of the Second World War and set up Smiths of Bloxham in the early 1950s.

Up until his death Mr Smith worked seven days a week and dealt with customers from all over Oxfordshire and neighbouring counties. The family also built a 50-plot traveller site on part of their land. It was there Mr Smith met the love of his life Lena, whom he went on to marry.

He also kept prize winning Limousin cattle. This year alone the family won prizes at the Royal Welsh Show, the Bucks County Show and other events in Lincoln and Newbury.

The late Tom senior taught his children from a young age the trade of buying and selling cattle, and the family has been winning prizes since 1969.

Each Wednesday the Smith family children would be taken out of school to go to Banbury’s cattle market auction.

At the age of 10 and 12, the boys were encouraged to make bids for stock.

Farmers from across the UK and an auctioneer from Carlisle were among those who had made the journey to Mr Smith’s funeral on Monday.

About 1,200 family, friends and members of the travelling community brought Bloxham to a standstill for an hour as they paid their respects.

At the service he was described as “a kind and generous man”.

Peter said: “We worked seven days a week and didn’t take holidays.

“Tom was always very fair with any customers.

“His nephews and nieces thought the world of their uncle Tommy, he was like a second father to them.”

Mr Smith, a former pupil at Bloxham Primary School and later Springfields School in Banbury, was also a supporter of Bloxham and Hook Norton football clubs and local events including Bloxfest and Bloxham Steam Rally.

One of his nephews persuaded Mr Smith to fly in a plane for the first and only time, taking him to Birmingham on the spur of the moment to fly to Heathrow and back.

Mr Smith was still wearing his wellington boots and green jacket he wore around the farm.

He is survived by wife Lena.