FIGURES from across St Helens' arts and heritage scene have paid tribute to "unsung hero" Len Saunders, who died after being punched on Friday (July 21).

Known to some as 'Len Banana', the 65-year-old community cinema volunteer died in hospital on Sunday (July 30).

Len was widely respected in the town's arts and cultural scene, and is believed to have appeared as an extra in some films and TV dramas.

Photographer Robbob shared some of the pictures he took of Len on a number of shoots.

He told the Star: "I'm in total shock after having the pleasure of meeting Len on various photoshoots at Mansion House and Lucem House, and also when walking through town.

"He always had time to stop and talk and to make me laugh. There wasn't any harm in him, I'm just gobsmacked.

"Here's a few pictures of Len who starred in 'The Pale boy' at Mansion House."

Local historian Chris Coffey said Len enjoyed creative writing and was a "good friend to have".

He said: "He is one of our local unsung heroes, helping to give shows to community groups about the Titanic, lead singing with his band performing pre-war music, occasionally performing with the Unnamed Players, and now an active volunteer with the Lucem House Community Cinema.

"Our thoughts are with him and his family and friends."

He added: "He enjoyed being an extra and appeared in a few film and television dramas in non-speaking roles. He made a few short films such as Don't Do Drugs with the students at St Helens College. I possess a few on DVD and we discussed doing a show of his works.

"In 2009 we commemorated the Centenary of Cody having to land his aircraft at Valencia Farm in Eccleston, abandoning the attempt to be the first man to fly non-stop between Liverpool and Manchester. Len helped with the unveiling, writing and performing a suitable speech.

"In 2013 the BBC approached me for help in making a documentary about North West heritage at risk, with an item on Cannington Shaw. Len helped me and the item duly appeared on BBC1, with Len in some of the committee shots.

"He enjoyed writing poetry and attended several creative writing meetings. He was a good friend to have."

The Star reported last week after detectives issued an appeal following an assault on Ward Street on Friday, July 21.

Police said a man was walking down the street with a friend when they were approached by two young men.

One of them asked for a cigarette and when the victim told them that they both do not smoke, one punched him in the head, causing him to fall to the ground and bang his head.

The pair ran off along Ward Street while the victim's friend called for an ambulance.

The 65-year-old was taken to hospital unconscious and transferred to Walton Neurological Centre in Liverpool.