The British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) has paid tribute to one of the best-known figures in the British furniture industry, Charles Wade.

Charles, who ran the Wade Furniture Group for over 20 years, built it into one of Europe's premier upholstery and cabinet furniture manufacturing companies. Well known for owning a number of large brands that still survive to this day, such as Buoyant Upholstery, he was active in the training arena including being chairman of Webs Training.

Charles, who passed away at the end of April, had close links with many BFM directors and a number of his businesses were members of the association.

Jackie Bazeley, BFM MD, says: "Charles was an inspirational figure, he had a career within the industry spanning nearly 50 years and became one of its greatest industrialists. He will be greatly missed."

Other senior BFM directors and members also paid tribute to Charles. Mike Aramayo, MD of Buoyant Upholstery, says: "He was a very good friend and we worked closely together for 18 years. I was so lucky to be able to spend some time with him before he passed. I will miss him forever."

Ian Oscroft, MD of Whitemeadow, says: "Charles will forever be known as an icon of the furniture industry, full of talent, inspiration, conversation and opinion. He will be greatly missed."

Brian Ahern, BFM vice chairman, says: "Charles' passing is a great loss to the furniture industry. He led many successful businesses in the sector and was inspiring company. He lived life to the full and will be greatly missed."

Chris Fort, chairman and joint MD, Sherborne Upholstery, says: "Charles was a larger-than-life character who ran businesses in many different sectors of the furniture industry and who gave back to the industry in the way of training support and mentoring of individuals. Always good company, his passing has been a huge shock and he will be sadly missed."