Tributes have been paid to a popular Father Christmas who appeared in numerous festive TV adverts and shows.

John Moore, from Burgess Hill, died earlier this month and his funeral will be held tomorrow at St Edward’s church in Royal George Road.

Mr Moore’s finest hour was when he was used as the basis for Coca Cola’s computer-generated version of Santa Claus.

His plump figure, fluffy white beard and caring smile made him a favourite with TV companies and advertisers.

Other TV work included a starring role in Morrisons supermarket’s 2005 Christmas advert, when he bought carrots for his reindeer parked outside, to the amazement of star-struck children.

In Burgess Hill he was known for stepping in as Santa at various venues throughout December as well as offering his services for charity.

Outside of Christmas he worked as a taxi driver for Census Taxis and as a barman at the King’s Head pub, in London Road.

Burgess Hill photographer Ian Pack who met Mr Moore at a shoot in 2011, described him as a “great man” and “a humble, talented actor”.

He said: “He was a very nice man and it is very sad news indeed.”

Nicola Wright, from Burgess Hill, posted on Facebook: “I can remember walking round Tesco in December with my then four-year-old kicking off.

“He saw this gentleman and said ‘Father Christmas’. John just looked at him and winked.

“Still five years later, at this time of year, he says ‘I wonder if I will see Father Christmas in Tescos again?’”

In a feature in the Financial Times in 2011 the then 84-year-old spoke of the intricacies of the job.

He said: “There are lots of things you need to watch out for. You can’t automatically assume the adults with the child are their parent.

“You must never assume a kid has both parents? I’ve had eight-year-olds whispering that they’d like mummy to come home for Christmas. It’s good to talk to other people to find out how they deal with these things.”

His funeral will be held at 10.45am.