Tributes have been paid to a man “with a big character and a big heart” who died the day after his 74th birthday.

Huddersfield-born and bred Stan Atkinson loved his hometown and would post pictures old and new on Facebook group Huddersfield Then and Now.

Stan, who lived in Oakes with wife Patricia, 74, loved a bit of banter and relished winding people up online – but it was all good-natured fun.

Stan’s step-daughter Alison Morley said: “He was a wind-up merchant but he had the biggest heart. He loved to get a reaction from people but it was all in fun.

“He liked to moan, of course, but he was a big character with a big heart.”

Stan had a fall and went to A&E but was admitted to Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax when it was found he had a chest infection.

He had been in hospital just short of a week and his family were expecting him to return home soon. He had his birthday last Friday but his condition suddenly worsened and he died early on Saturday morning.

News of his death brought a wave of sympathy and good wishes on Huddersfield Then and Now and a heavenly image of Stan was made the group’s profile picture in tribute.

Heaven’s above – Stan’s profile picture tribute

One person wrote: “Never met him but my God he made me laugh. A true gent.” Another said: “We didn’t see eye to eye exactly where ABC Cinema was. I was right, Stan was wrong but he kept insisting he was right even after people posted pictures of where it was. RIP Stan. You made me chuckle at times.”

Another fan wrote: “I didn’t even know him but I felt like I did. RIP Stan.” Someone else said: “I’m not gonna lie I loved it when he was being controversial – it made my day. I’m sure he’s going to cause a stir upstairs.”

A friend recalled: “Stan once came to our house for some home brew and when he left he was a bit inebriated to say the least.

“When he got to the bottom of Quarmby he had to call in the fish shop to ask where he lived. What a character!”

Stan loved his clocks, grew “the biggest sunflowers in Huddersfield” and couldn’t stop taking photographs. He supported Leeds United and loved nothing better than winding up Huddersfield Town fans.

READ MORE: Our tribute to another Huddersfield character Jake Mangle-Wurzel whose passing leaves the town a poorer place

Stan was born in Huddersfield and grew up in Dalton going to Moldgreen school and Rawthorpe high. He had two sisters and a brother and worked as a pattern weaver in the textile industry.

He had a son Jason, 29, to a previous relationship and married Patricia in 2000. The couple were introduced by Alison, his step-daughter-to-be.

Alison, 42, said: “I got to know Stan through an ex-boyfriend and we met at the Bay Horse in Lindley. He used to sit in Muppet Corner. He was a great guy and I just knew him and mum would get on.”

The couple married shortly afterwards at Huddersfield Register Office and lived in Oakes most of their married life.

Stan was a familiar sight out walking the couple’s dog Poppy.

Cheers, Stan!

Alison added: “He was so very friendly with everybody. We would walk around the town and everyone knew him.

“Before Covid he would just sit in the town centre and move from bench to bench and just talk to people. He was very sociable and would do anything for anybody. He had the biggest heart going.”

Alison’s daughter Grace, 15, and her sister Karen’s two daughters Nicole, 27, and Katie, 25, loved Stan as their own grandad.

Alison said she and her mum had loved reading all the tributes to Stan on Facebook and added: “There were smiles, tears and laughter in equal measure. It’s nice to know how well loved he was.”

No funeral has yet been arranged but it’s likely to be at Huddersfield Crematorium with a collection for The Kirkwood.

Alison added: “Stan always said he wanted the cheapest funeral possible for £1,000 but we won’t be doing it that cheap. He said he’d rather we spend the money on alcohol instead!”

READ MORE: A tribute to Brian Haigh who made a major contribution to the preservation of Huddersfield’s history