TRIBUTES have been paid to the man who spent more than 50 years at the helm of a traditional Dudley sweet company.

Ted Gray, who ran the Edward Gray of Dudley company - fondly known as Teddy Grays - with his older sister Betty, died in his sleep on Friday, aged 81.

The siblings took over the day-to-day running of the family firm's North Street factory in the sixties.

Betty, who still works for the company at the age of 88, was persuaded by their father to join the business when a vacancy arose in the office and she was soon joined by her brother when he returned from serving in the RAF.

Together, they kept the confectionary business - renowned for its speciality herbal tablets as well as boiled sweets, fudge, toffee, nougat and toffee teacakes, that are sold at its shops in Dudley, Wednesbury and Bewdley and market stalls in Bilston and Blackheath - at the top of its game.

However in 2013, Mr Gray, a father-of-four, who also leaves behind two grandchildren and a great-grandson, was forced to take a step back from the business due to ill health.

His daughter, Julie Healy, said her father's biggest achievement were "keeping the business running all these years" and closely guarding the secret of his father's herbal tablet recipe.

She continued: "He was a lovely, generous, caring man. Everybody loved him and had not got a bad word to say about him, he was very well known throughout the town. He was the 'King of Rock', we've been told."