A WELL-KNOWN character from Haydon Bridge has died at the age of 77.

Brian Dillon, known by many in Haydon Bridge as “Posh Brian” because of his accent, lived in the village for almost 20 years, but sadly lost a hard-fought battle with cancer on March 27.

Brian was born in Drighlington, West Yorkshire in 1941, as the fourth of five brothers. After leaving school at 16 he joined the army and was stationed in Germany, where he met his wife Beate.

Together, they travelled the world – living in Iran in the 1970s and Saudi Arabia in the 1980s and 1990s for his work with International Military Services as an advisor.

At times his life on the road was far from plain sailing – he had to flee Iran in 1979 due to the Iranian revolution, and was caught up in the first Gulf War.

While his family were worried as the scud missiles fell, Brian refused to panic, insisting: “If we die, we die. Let’s just keep playing chess.”

Brian and Beate had six daughters, which in turn led to 18 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Beate and the girls moved back to the UK from Germany in 1975, but Brian continued working all around the world. In 1982, the family moved to the North-East for the first time, settling in Hexham when Brian got a job at Vickers in Newcastle.

Following spells in Hexham and Allendale, Brian and Beate finally settled in Haydon Bridge, where they both became well known members of the community.

The quiet life never suited Brian. Following stints as a tour guide in Austria and Switzerland and work as a telecommunications salesman, he returned to South Tynedale where he enjoyed driving the local school bus into his 70s.

In 2012, Beate died following her own battle with cancer, leaving Brian on his own for the first time – but he found companionship again four years later, making his last two years very happy.

Paying tribute to Brian, his daughter, Vicki Dillon, said: “Dad was a one-off, he broke the mould.

“He was the kindest, cleverest, most knowledgeable man I have ever known, and never failed to amaze me.

“He bore his illness stoically, with unbelievable courage and vigour, never once complaining. He was so grateful for the care he had received.

“He will be greatly missed, and never forgotten.”