Tributes have been paid to the founder and chairman of Smethwick Heritage Centre David Bryant, who has died, aged 80.
Mr Bryant set up the centre in 2004 to preserve the social and industrial heritage of the area he loved, and was awarded an MBE for his work with the groundbreaking museum in 2006.
Mrs Christine Round, Mr Bryant’s sister and acting chairman of the centre, said: “It was his baby from the start. We felt Smethwick should be celebrated for what it was and what it grew to be.”
Mrs Round, aged 76, said of her brother: “He was a caring man. I don’t think I could have had a better brother.”
Birmingham historian Carl Chinn, who opened the centre, described Mr Bryant as a “remarkable” man.
“Smethwick is one of the few towns of its size that has its own museum,” he said, “and that was brought to life by David and other members of the Smethwick Heritage Centre Trust.”
Smethwick Heritage Centre now has 850 members and works with schools as well as organising road shows and exhibitions, according to Chris Sutton, development worker for the centre.
Mr Sutton, aged 49, said: “David was passionate in his love for anything connected with Smethwick. His drive and enthusiasm for Smethwick and the work of the Trust was legendary.”
Mr Sutton said: “He leaves behind a great many people who knew and respected him and the Heritage Centre he set up and created as a lasting memorial.”
Mr Bryant passed away on December 8. He leaves a wife, Sheila, and children Sharon, Mark and Neil.
Mark Bryant, aged 43, said: “He was always there for us, always ready to listen. He had many hobbies, including history and cricket, but he’d always involve us.”
The funeral service will be held at Holy Trinity Church, Smethwick at 11am on Thursday December 22, followed by a reception at Smethwick Heritage Centre.
Instead of flowers, Mr Bryant requested donations to the Smethwick Heritage Trust, which supports the work of the centre.