PROFESSIONAL toastmaster David Tilt, of Droitwich, has died at the age of 74.

Mr Tilt, of Windsor Road, passed away yesterday, while undergoing a heart operation.

He was renowned worldwide for his meticulous attention to detail, which ensured he officiated at many prestigious functions.

In 1998, he was invited to the Heads of Government G8 summit in Birmingham, while in 2001 he officiated at a unique celebration held at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

Guests there included His Royal Highness Prince Philip and ex-British Prime Ministers John Major and Edward Heath.

A toastmaster for 14 years, Mr Tilt helped to put aside the image of a "loud-mouthed person who bangs a gavel and makes a few announcements," as he put it.

But as well as high-profile functions, Mr Tilt also did his bit for smaller causes.

He worked with many organisations including the Society of Stars Charity, Macmillan Nurses and the Variety Club of Great Britain.

Tributes have been flooding in since his death was announced.

"As Mayor of Droitwich, and a friend, I would like to give my deepest sympathy to Trish Tilt as I have known them both for about 40 years," said Councillor Jan Bolton.

"I am very sorry to hear about David as he was a great asset to the town with his charm and personality.

"I will miss him a lot."

Wychavon District Councillor Andrew Christian-Brookes was also extremely upset by the news.

"He was a very colourful chap, a lovely man. He will be deeply missed and my sympathy goes to his family."