TRIBUTES have been paid to a 'much-loved' Worcester man who was a familiar face to many people in the city, following his sudden death.

Peter Middleton, who died aged 60 on Wednesday evening, was a familiar face in the city as he was often seen at Lock 4 (Blockhouse), near Foundry Street, of the Worcester to Birmingham canal, where he would offer a friendly greeting to dog walkers and others passersby.

Mr Middleton had been living on and off at St Paul's Hostel for homeless people, and staff and residents there have been left saddened by his death.

He died when he was struck by a train on the tracks near St John's Cemetery in St John's, Worcester at around 6.30pm on Wednesday, the Worcester News understands.

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Jonathan Sutton, the chief executive of St Paul's, said Mr Middleton's death was 'tragic' and had come three weeks after he had last stayed at the hostel.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of Peter’s death," said Mr Sutton. "He was one of the members of the Creative Group and a much loved member of our community.

"I think everyone will miss Peter – his sardonic humour, politeness, poetry and throaty voice.

"Peter was often seen by Lock 4 of the canal, his black trilby hat worn at a wonderfully rakish angle, where he loved to watch the world go by, keeping it free of litter, whittling walking sticks and always with his trouser pockets crammed full of delicious treats for every passing dog.”

Mr Sutton said that Mr Middleton had many passions and was a popular character.

“His passions were nature, the local canal – he helped our Creative Group on ‘The Wanderer’ canal boat – and he was really good at writing poetry. He liked his rock music, loved spending quiet time fishing on the canal and helping out with odd DIY jobs at the hostel. He loved his food and always contributed to our weekly community meetings – Peter’s ideas were always grounded in common sense.

“Peter never complained about his lot – he was always polite. I remember him saying, going out of the hostel one day ‘one might be homeless but one does not need to look it’.

“We think he spent some time as a roadie for PJ Proby.

“Peter had a near encyclopaedic knowledge of nature.”

Mr Sutton added: “St Pauls’ residents and staff are very sorry that Peter died and our sympathy goes to his family.”

The Worcester News understands that Mr Middleton’s death is not being treated as suspicious. His next of kin have been informed.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: "We were called at 6.30pm on Wednesday November 27 to St John’s Cemetery in Dines Green to reports of a collision involving a pedestrian and train.

"We sent an ambulance, a critical care car and a paramedic officer to the scene. Unfortunately, it quickly became clear nothing could be done to save the man and he was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Worcestershire Coroner’s Office has been made aware of Mr Middleton’s death. A date for an inquest has not yet been set.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “At around 6.30pm on Wednesday, Network Rail was alerted to an incident on the railway between Worcester Foregate Street and Hereford. As a result, the line was closed and we worked with Great Western Railway and Cross Country Trains to put in place a bus and taxi replacement service. British Transport Police attended the scene and the line was fully reopened at around 8.15pm.”

If you knew Mr Middleton and would like to pay tribute to him, please email

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