A founder of convenience store Londis has died aged 86, after a three-year illness.

Friends of John Leach paid tribute to the community man who died last week and was a well-known figure in Richmond.

He previously owned a store in Lower Mortlake Road, Richmond, that was founded by his father in 1892.

He was a past president of the London District Council of the National Grocers’ Federation and was the organisation’s treasurer for 25 years.

In 1959 he persuaded some of his fellow retailers to form Londis - the group taking its name from an amalgam of the words London District.

Leach was the launch chairman of Londis and remained with the group until selling the 800sq ft store to Subhas Patel in 1994.

Mr Patel, who took over the shop about 20 years ago, said: “He was a very well-known guy and will be really missed in Richmond.

“He did so much for the community and was involved in lots of things – the chamber of commerce, Richmond Museum.”

Mr Leach, a religious man, was described as one of the old school of grocers and refused to sell cigarettes, tobacco or alcohol.