TOUCHING tributes have been paid to the boss of a family-run taxi firm and “a perfect grandfather”.

William “Billy” Hannan, the managing director of ABC Taxis, died last week following a short battle with bronchitis and pneumonia.

Mr Hannan, 65, took over the firm in November 1998, and was still running the company up to his death on January 4.

The grandfather of three has been praised as being the “perfect” dad and someone who would help his family and staff.

Michael Hannan, Mr Hannan’s son, said the support the family has received since his father’s death has been overwhelming.

He said his father had started out as a carpet fitter but then progressed into the taxi industry.

William "Billy" Hannan with his grandchildren Lily, Mae and Tommy

He said: “In about 1996 he came out of that business, he started driving taxis.

“He was a natural leader really.

“It’s been really good, because I was able to leave school and start working for them.

“He made it a family business. All different family members have been there at different times.

“It was booming for the first few years.

“People who were needing jobs could come to him and he would point them in the right direction.

“A lot of people that were between jobs, they came on board.”

Mr Hannan said it had been “humbling” for his family to see so many messages of support since his father’s death.

A post by ABC taxis that paid tribute to Mr Hannan has attracted more than 80 comments from people leaving their own tributes.

William Hannan was raised in East London and had been living in Benfleet for the past 44 years. Last year he celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary with his wife Sharon.

He is survived by his wife, two sons Michael and David, plus David’s three children Lily, Mae and Tommy.

Michael Hannan added: “He was perfect.

“He was our kingpin.

“I felt sorry for other people that did not have my dad.”

The post from ABC Taxis said: “He will be greatly missed by all of us.

“Although we are in shock, we are humbled by the many bouquets and hundreds of tributes that have been left for him by some of the people who’s life he touched.”