TRIBUTES were being paid this week to a councillor and care worker who died suddenly on Monday at the age of 40.

Martin Foster was well known in Prudhoe as the activities co-ordinator at Red Brick House Care Home and earlier this month, he was recognised for his dedication to his job after winning the Care Home Activity Organiser award at the North East Care Awards.

In July, he was elected to Prudhoe Town Council, representing the Castle and Eltringham ward and he played a key role in the community, successfully campaigning for new goalposts at the town’s play park.

Brought up in Blakelaw, Newcastle, Mr Foster was himself a talented goalkeeper and was on Newcastle United’s books for a while, playing for many clubs in the North-East.

When football didn’t work out, he joined the family business and worked on the green markets at Team Valley.

His father, Martin Foster Snr. paid an emotional tribute to his son.

“We can’t get our heads around it,” he said. “He was such a character. Nobody can believe it. Everybody loved him, he had a heart of gold.

“He would do anything for anybody. He’d just won his award and he was going to the grand final in Birmingham. He was over the moon.

“He used to say he loved three people in the world - his son Daniel, who he lived for, his mam, who he rang every week, and his dad, because he said I would do anything for him.

“He loved his job working with the elderly people. He said it was the best thing he’d ever done.”

In March, Mr Foster was able to source replica medals for 94-year-old Second World War veteran Tommy Watson, who lived at Red Brick, which he had described as the proudest moment of his life.

The town’s Mayor, Coun. Tracy Gilmore, described him as a breath of fresh air.

“Martin’s great gift was his ability to engage with anyone regardless of age or background,” she said. “He had a natural warmth which people were attracted to.

“It was impossible to be sad and at times even serious in Martin’s presence and his enthusiasm was infectious.

“Martin became a close friend and was great fun to be around.

“His passing not only came as a huge shock but has also left a huge void in our lives and within Prudhoe.”

A Northumbria Police spokesman said there was not believed to have been any third party involvement and a report had been sent to the coroner.