A Surbiton greengrocer who married a woman he rescued from underneath a pile of rubble during World War Two has died aged 92.

Charlie Stear was the owner of CF & MC Stear, in Surbiton Hill Park, which has become a renowned greengrocers since he and his wife Amy opened the family business in 1962. They even had a stall at Covent Garden.

Mr Stear died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, May 4, his family said.

The greengrocers has now been passed down to his son Martyn, who told of the dramatic circumstances in which Mr Stear met his wife Amy.

Martyn Stear, 58, of Chessington Road, said: “He met my mum during the war. There had just been a bomb and she was buried under the rubble and he dug her out.

“It’s a true story and it’s amazing. He would do anything for anybody. Nothing was too much for him.”

The Stear family and the greengrocers became a well-known feature of Surbiton, with some customers having frequented the shop for as long as 40 years.

The Stears celebrated 50 years serving Surbiton residents in 2012 by rolling back prices of fruit and veg to what they charged in the 1960s.

Despite Mr Stear’s age and ailing health, he would still make time to visit his treasured store.

Martyn Stear added: “Up until last September he would still be helping out in the shop, sitting talking to the customers. He led a great life and he donated to local schools. He’s done so much, it’s amazing.

“If you mention Stear's most people will know who we are – there’s not too many greengrocers left in the area. It’s been going in the family for generations.

“He didn’t really retire. He should have done be but he’d always be in the shop.”

Outside of his passion for his greengrocers and visits to his stall in Covent Garden, Mr Stear was an avid sports fan.

Martyn Stear added: “He loved his sport and stuff like that. He had a great innings.”

Mr Stear’s funeral is due to be held today.