TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of an 'inspirational' Inverclyde fundraiser who overcame adversity to collect more than £1 million for charity.

John Craynor, who was 94, passed away at home surrounded by his family earlier this month, having led a fulfilling and rewarding life in which he spent half of his years without his eyesight.

The popular Port Glasgow man was a familiar face in the Tele's pages in recent decades for his altruistic acts, particularly in gathering money for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association after he lost his vision at the age of 47 in a farming accident.

Greenock Telegraph: Outside the Telegraph's office in 1992Outside the Telegraph's office in 1992 (Image: George Munro)

John's extensive charitable efforts were such that he received an MBE in 1993 for his fundraising work for the organisation in Scotland - with his labrador retriever, Foster, becoming the first guide dog to attend a Royal Investiture.

His passion for horticulture also earned him a place on the BBC's Beechgrove Garden, however, despite his local and national fame family always came first.

Maureen McGurk, one of four children from John's near-60-year marriage to the late Mary, told the Telegraph: "He had a wonderful life.

"Family came first but he was heavily involved in fundraising.

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"He got his first guide dog, Wallace, at 47 and he took up charity work because he wanted to give back.

"Although he lost his sight he still cooked, baked, and did everything at home while mum was at work.

"It was a very proud moment when he received his MBE at Holyrood Palace. He took all that in his stride.

"He didn't do it for the recognition, that's just what came."

Maureen said that she and her mum, Mary, became John's guides after he had to give up his beloved animals due to health problems.

She said she always admired his strength and courage to beat any challenge he was faced with.

Maureen said: "His motto was 'You only get out of life what you put into it'.

"He was an inspiration.

"Rain, hail or shine he would be standing with his collecting cans.

Greenock Telegraph: John, pictured with Mary in 1996, won many awards for his gardening and fundraising workJohn, pictured with Mary in 1996, won many awards for his gardening and fundraising work (Image: George Munro)

"He would fill his square box so quickly he had to get the wooden leg of a table to hold it up because it was so heavy.

"A single collecting can was never enough."

Maureen added: "A lot of people would have said 'I am just going to give up'.

"Everyone that met him always said that he was an amazing man.

"He will be missed loads.

"He always said the people of Inverclyde were so generous, that their generosity and support and friendliness was amazing. The people of Inverclyde are fantastic."

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Sandi Johnson, community fundraising manager for the west of Scotland branch of the Guide Dogs charity, said: “We were saddened to learn of the passing of John Craynor MBE who, over the course of many years, raised a significant sum of money to support Guide Dogs and help others living with sight loss across the UK.

“Having benefited from the life-changing support of his own guide dogs over the years, John was dedicated to fundraising and sharing his experiences with the public, raising awareness among his local community and further afield.

"As a charity, we are almost entirely dependent on donations, so John played a monumental role in ensuring others with a vision impairment can live actively, independently and well through his many endeavours.

Greenock Telegraph: John Craynor passed away on October 8John Craynor passed away on October 8 (Image: George Munro)

“Everyone at Guide Dogs Scotland would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to John’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

John, who is survived by daughters Anne, Helen and Maureen, as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren, will be received into St Francis' Church in Port Glasgow, prior to a 12.30pm funeral Mass tomorrow (Thursday, October 19). There will then be a committal at Greenock Crematorium at 2pm.