THE family of a well-known and popular inventor have paid tribute to him following his death.

Alan Brazier, who was born in Bromsgrove on December 23, 1932, went on to invent the Vax vacuum cleaner in the 1970s, setting up the firm's head office in Droitwich Spa soon after.

Alan died peacefully last Wednesday. A family statement has described him as a "remarkable man whose charisma and generosity matched his great physical presence."

Alan was born into a farming family. He spent much of his early life in Stoke Heath and never moved far from his roots after attending Bromsgrove School.

At the age of 23 he tenanted a farm at Weatheroak, Worcestershire, and with his strong early entrepreneurial spirit Alan soon realised he could make more money from milk. In eight years he increased the annual turnover from £3,000 to £250,000 before selling to a competitor.

Alan was also a member of the well-known Brazier family firm of builders in Bromsgrove, which later built his factory in Droitwich.

In 1977, he formed Vax Appliances Ltd and, after much experimental work, he developed the machine that was to make him famous. The machine was unique and was the first domestic vacuum cleaner in the world that washed carpets which people could use in their own home.

The initial idea was to go into people's homes with the shampoo machines and expand through word of mouth.

However, housewives did not want to admit to their friends that the house was so dirty they needed it professionally cleaned.

At that point Alan and a colleague moved into commercial cleaning, winning the contract to clean Newport Pagnell service station. It was the days spent there that helped Alan develop the machine. The first cleaner was made from a milk churn, a shower pump and a water heater.

Vax machines were first sold in 1979, initially through door to door selling. In 1982, the marketing changed and the machines were made available in retail outlets. In 1987 Vax became the best selling vacuum cleaner in the UK.

Alan was a loving husband to Elizabeth and father to Emma, Ian and the late Karen. He was grandfather to Chloe and Gregory.

He supported many charitable causes and helped both well known groups and local charities such as The Vax Den, which he set up for the children of Droitwich. He also promoted conservation and was involved with countryside groups to help achieve this.

Alan's funeral service will be held at St John the Baptist Church, Bromsgrove, at 12.30pm this Friday, followed by cremation service at Worcester Crematorium.

Donations made will be divided between Diabetes UK and Cure Leukaemia. They can be made payable to James Giles and Sons Ltd (Client Account) and forwarded to them at 24 Stourbridge Road, Bromsgrove, Worc B61 0AE.

A Celebration of Alan's Life will be held at The Wheelbarrow Castle Pub, Radford, near Inkberrow, from 2pm.

According to his family, Alan's company motto epitomised his life in general. "Veni, Vidi, Vici, Vaxi! I came, I saw, I conquered and I cleaned up!"