RETIRED Rawdon celebrity publicist John Rimington has paid tribute to songwriting legend Les Reed who died on Monday at the age of 83.

Mr Reed, who was famous for hits including Delilah, died in hospital from pneumonia following a fall which cracked his scull two weeks ago at his home in Rogate, Hampshire.

“Les was a musical maestro in a showbiz career which spanned six decades during which he wrote hundreds of hit songs for international stars including Sylvia and This is Our Dance for Elvis Presley,” Mr Rimington said.

“Although he is probably best known for such songs as It’s Not Unusual and Delilah for Tom Jones and The Last Walz for Engelbert Humperdinck. He was also an amazing arranger, producer, conductor and composer - not only of pop music, but light classical as well.

“In the 60’s and 70s when I was his personal publicist and for his independent Chapter One Records company, Les taught me all about the pop music scene and recording business before I moved to live and work in Las Vegas as Fleet Street’s showbiz correspondent and as a publicist for several stars including Liberace, Ginger Rogers and Debbie Reynolds.

“We last worked together on the recording of a CD album titled An Olympic Event, from which a single Go Mo Go was released as a tribute to British distance athlete Mo Farah, the double gold medallist in the 10,000 and 5000 metres in the 2012 London Olympics.

John added: “But we remained close friends for over 40 years and I am honoured to have known him.”

Les lost his “loyal and loving wife” June several years ago and is survived by his only daughter Donna and two grandsons Alex and Dominic who were at his hospital bedside when he died.