TRIBUTES have been paid to former cabaret star and fundraising champion, Samuel “Sonny” Warner, who has died aged 96.

Over his lifetime Mr Warner, who lived in Prestwich, raised more than £10million for good causes and brought joy to thousands with his musical performances.

He was also a beloved father of three, grandfather of nine and great grandfather of 16.

His son Graeme said: “My father had a great sense of humour. He was always laughing and joking and he was just a very generous person.”

Born the youngest of eight children to Polish immigrants, Rachel and Morris, in 1923, Sonny grew up and was schooled in Cheetham Hill, Manchester.

At the age of 15 he started work as a machinist alongside his father and later became a commercial salesman.

Music was Mr Warner’s real passion from an early age and as a teenager he joined a four part harmony group known as The Four Nippers.

He also played the ukelele and auditioned for a dance band where he met and fell in love with pianist Pam née Seligman.

The couple formed a duet, Sonny Warner and Pam, and even went on to perform on BBC radio in 1946.

They married in 1948, settled in Prestwich and had three sons, Brian, Clive and Graeme.

The music bug was quickly caught by the boys and the whole family would regularly play at home together and in 1959 created their famous cabaret ­— The Sonny Warner Show.

The family took their show to the public after being inspired by their window cleaner who, after hearing their rehearsals at home, was so impressed that he urged them to perform a charity concert at Besses o’th’ Barn church hall.

Two performances were held each week featuring hundreds of talented youngsters who could sing, dance and perform, as well as other artists and comedians, over many years.

Famous names who cut their teeth with The Sonny Warner Show include singer Debbie Myers, Graham Gouldman of rock band 10cc and actor Rodney Paulden.

Performances by The Sonny Warner Show took place at venues across Manchester and the North West, including for patients of Prestwich Hospital and residents of Heathlands Village.

As well as spreading smiles the shows raised thousands of pounds for causes as diverse as the Guide Dogs for the Blind and various cancer charities.

Graeme said: “My dad was just a very generous man. He was always singing and he was always giving. He only cared about other people, never himself. That’s what gave him a kick in life ­— helping other people.”

Mr Warner was awarded an MBE for services to charity in 1994 and worked as a fundraiser for the Manchester Jewish Social Services ­— which became The Fed ­— and the Nicky Alliance Centre.

More recently he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the Manchester Jewish Community Awards last month.

Beyond his public life, Mr Warner was a lifelong, avid Manchester United fan and loved Coronation Street.

His wife Pam died in 2011.