TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known Basingstoke business owner who spent his life battling a rare condition that made him allergic to the sun.

Andrew Seery, known as Mr Trilby, died on May 25 surrounded by loved ones after suffering from a rare hereditary blood disease.

The 55-year-old, who owned family-run barbershop and hairdressers Trilbys in Basingstoke for 30 years, was diagnosed when he was born with a condition called porphyria, which resulted in him needing weekly blood transfusions following a liver transplant.

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Andrew Seery (Image: Robert Seery) Despite his health problems, his wife Geraldine said he ‘lived life to the full’.

Paying tribute to her husband of 35 years, she said: “He had liver failure 21 years ago and has had ongoing treatment ever since. You wouldn’t have known if you met him – he lived life to the full and he was always upbeat. He lived everyday, he was incredible. He was a wonderful man, and husband, father and grandfather.”

Geraldine said Andrew came from “humble beginnings” before beginning his career sweeping the floors at former hairdressers Carey’s in Basingstoke.

His mother worked as a hairdresser and, following in her footsteps, Andrew went on to train at a London school before opening his first salon in Basingstoke in 1991, in Potters Walk, which is still going today.

Since then, the family-run business has gone from strength-to-strength with Andrew and Geraldine opening another four salons in Basingstoke.

“He absolutely loved his job,” said Geraldine, adding: “It’s a really successful business and very much a family business. An awful lot of people in Basingstoke know him.

"The last six months he was quite ill so he was limited to what he could do but he was still very much involved. We always said he would work until he dropped. He loved his work and he loved people including the staff and his customers. He always took time for people.”

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Geraldine described her husband – a father-of-two and grandfather-of-one – as “funny, with a great sense of humour, caring and thoughtful”.

She added: “He just loved people and always wanted to help people. He would stop and talk to people begging on the streets because he said ‘everyone has a story’, and it’s true.

"He came from humble beginnings. Sometimes in life it’s not where you get to, but what you have overcome. He was just kind and thoughtful and generous.”

Geraldine said Trilbys will be run by their son Robert, to “continue Andrew’s legacy”.

Andrew’s funeral will be held at St Cross Church, in Winchester on Wednesday, July 3 at 12.30pm. Donations can be made directly to NHS Blood and Transplant Charity Fund.