A “legendary” street figure who was “part of the furniture” in Finchley for more than three decades has passed away.

Horace White, who lived on the Grange Estate in East Finchley, collapsed outside the Whittington Hospital yesterday (Monday) on his way to an appointment.

Doctors fought to save him for more than two hours but the eccentric character was pronounced dead overnight.

The hugely popular man, believed to be 54, was well known around the North Finchley area, where he would hang around outside shops and chat to passers-by for several hours a day.

He was best known for wishing people the “best of luck” and travelling on the 263 bus around the area.

Flowers have been placed outside MacDonald’s restaurant on the High Road, while social media sites have been flooded with tributes.

A card left outside MacDonald’s reads: “RIP Horace. Our Finchley legend. Sadly missed, but you made us smile! Love Kirstie xx.”

People were visibly shocked as they passed the impromptu memorial in High Road this afternoon and discovered the news, with many repeating Horace’s famous catchphrase.

A Facebook group entitled ‘Horace of Finchley’, set up overnight, has attracted more than 3,600 ‘Likes’ and people have taken to Twitter to share their fond memories.

An online petition for Barnet Council to lay a bench in Horace’s memory has also gathered strong support.

Tributes have been paid to the “local hero” who was “known by everyone for his eccentric and loveable personality”.

Sharon Hayday, of Summers Lane, saw Horace on the High Road for more than 20 years.

The 51-year-old said: “He was always out with his suitcase and bags. He was so friendly, all the shop owners knew him. He was lovely, smiley, happy. I’m really shocked – it is so sad.”

Rumours of Horace’s death were spread around the area last year but funeral directors AW Luck and Sons, in Church Lane, confirmed he passed away yesterday.

Funeral details are expected to be announced in the next couple of days, with one passer-by predicting it to be “the biggest send off Finchley has ever seen”.

Michael Scott, 34, has known Horace since he was ten years old, growing up in the area.

He said: “He used to play games with people on the pavement – naming songs from every decade. I used to say to him: ‘How do you know all these songs?’.

“He knew everyone and insisted that he knew your surname. If you only gave him your first name he didn’t want to know. He was a cool guy.

“Some school kids would wind him up and call him Stanley – he hated that name. All the bus drivers used to let him on for free. He’s like the pavement on the ground around this place. I can’t believe it.”

Did you know Horace? Contact the news desk by telephoning 07824 530 136 or leave your tributes below.