TRIBUTES are being paid to a unique and enigmatic Pembrokeshire character who had spent nearly half his life living in the open-air.

Shunning offers of help and human contact, the Mini Man, as he was known, was well-known in the Kilgetty and Begelly area, where he made his home in a makeshift den behind bushes and shrubs close to the roundabout.

Police were called to the location yesterday, Saturday November 28, after concerns were raised about the Mini Man’s welfare and sadly found his body nearby.

Aged in his 60s and named Henry, he was universally known as the Mini Man because of the time he previously spent living in a mini car in a layby close to the Kilgetty roundabout.

He could often be seen on his decrepit pushbike on the roads between Kilgetty and Pembroke Dock and Tenby, propelling the battered machine along the tarmac with his feet, frequently with a bottle of orange fizzy pop and a loaf of white bread tied to the frame.

Local residents, who respected the Mini Man’s wishes for his solitary life, are now talking of ways to commemorate the unconventional character.

A five-minutes’ silence at the Kilgetty roundabout and a plaque are amongst the suggestions, while an offer has already been made of flowers for his coffin.

DJ and football coach Steve Briers, who has always lived a short distance from the roundabout, said: “He must have been a man of great pride, living as he did and not asking for help from anyone. He did it his way.”

In a tribute on Facebook, Steve, 58, wrote:

“Henry was affectionately nicknamed the Mini Man many, many years ago - a good 25-30 years - as he first lived in a mini parked by the now closed access to the old tip.

“Apparently, this 'residence'was not to last as the mini was not taxed, so Henry just made his home right there by the roundabout where he had lived in his mini, and he remained there ever since.

”He was clearly rock-hard to survive living outdoors for three decades and never accepted any help or gifts of bikes or clothing from anyone.

“He was a loner, completely independent, and clearly happy with this lifestyle. He never troubled anyone.

A Kilgetty legend and he never even knew it! However, clearly he wasn't bothered. He was his own man and just lived his life as he wanted to.”

Applauding Steve’s comments, residents have described Mini Man as ‘a legend’, ‘an institution’ and ‘a part of Kilgetty for many years’.

Said one: “It’s so heartwarming the way the Kilgetty community watched over Henry from the distance he preferred.”

While another commented: “So sad to know we will no longer cross stares at a frosty morning on the roundabout again. RIP you VIP”