A WELL known farmer who set up a popular egg and potato delivery business locally has sadly passed away at the age of 77.

Grandfather Jack Sloss died peacefully at Ayrshire Hospice last week following a six month battle with motor neurone disease.

He coined the name 'Happy Hens' which built up a strong brand name for the company and became synonymous with West Kilbride.

Jack lived all his life in Thirdpart Farm, apart from a few years when he headed down south to study at Harper Adams Agricultural College.

It was during his studies in agriculture and marketing that he met his future wife Robbie, who worked for the egg marketing board.

They were married in 1972 and had two children, Stevie and Callum, and four grandchildren, Elliott, Helena, Charlie and Willow.

Jack was born and bred in West Kilbride and took over the running of the farm from his father, delivering eggs, potatoes and veg to homes in Largs, Fairlie, West Kilbride and Ardrossan. At one point, the farm had 5,000 hens to meet demand.

Setting up the door to door delivery business meant that Jack became a well known face throughout the community.

Son Stevie, 47, said: "He got to know all the shopkeepers in Largs, Fairlie and West Kilbride.

"He had the traditional tattie howking where people would come out and dig their own produce at Thirdpart.

"It was a great part of my own childhood and I have fond memories of sitting on the back of the potato harvester and getting some extra pocket money at the end of the week.

"Everyone enjoyed working for him and he loved going for a pint at The Inverclyde Bar afterwards.

"Dad came up with the Happy Hens title - and the catchy slogan was 'From farm to table as fast as we are able'."

Jack retired and sold the business around 12 years ago, but still lived in the same house in Thirdpart where he grew up.

Stevie added: "The key to the success of the business was my dad's personality and character. He had a very cheery outlook and loved the rapport he had with his customers."

Jack was very active in his retirement and loved going on holidays and riding his electric bike to Largs with friends. He was also a long standing member of West Kilbride Bowling Club, which flew its flags at half mast after learning of his passing.

Stevie said: "My dad faced his diagnosis with motor neurone with dignity and was well looked after by Ayrshire Hospice.

"As well as a great family man, he was a person who loved to chat and was very kind and friendly. He never had a bad word to say about anybody."

Jack's funeral service takes place today at West Kilbride Parish Church and thereafter at Clyde Coast and Garnock Valley Crematorium.