EMOTIONAL tributes have been paid to a father who died aged 43 after collapsing in a town centre bar.

Window cleaner Philip Cotham, known as Pip, died in hospital after he was taken ill in the Breeze Bar in St Helens town centre at around 2am on Sunday, April 18.

The cause of death is not known, but there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances.

Friends have been stunned and say he was “fit as a fiddle”.

His heartbroken father, also named Philip, had been holidaying in Tenerife, when he was told the news but had to wait four days before he was able to return home because of the ash cloud chaos.

Pip, described as a familiar, cheery face across St Helens, lived on the Hard Lane estate and had been a window cleaner for more than ten years.

He wasn’t married, but had a daughter Kirsty, aged 16, and two sons Carl, aged 19, and 12-year-old Kieron. He also had stepchildren Claire, 23, and Craig, 20.

His devastated brother Alan, 47, said the family can’t believe what’s happened.

He told the Star: “It’s such a shock. He was such a popular figure round town, always with a laugh and smile on his face.

“He wasn’t a wallflower and was always out and about.

“At the moment, we’re not sure exactly what happened, but he was as fit as a fiddle.

“He was up and down ladders and carrying them everywhere.

“All we know is that he was in the beer garden talking to a friend and just collapsed. The bouncers came to help and paramedics tried for 25 minutes to resuscitate him.”

Pip also leaves two other brothers Dave, 45, and Robert, 19 and two sisters Elaine and Ann, who are both aged 41.

His funeral is due to take place at St Thomas’s Church on Westfield Street on Friday, April 30, followed by a get together at the Rockware Club on Shaw Street.