A MUCH-LOVED community figure in Tynedale has died.

Nigel Baynes, owner of Allendale-based Baynes Travel, died after an incident at the company's yard on Thursday evening (March 10).

Mr Baynes was also a retained firefighter and a leading figure in many of Allendale's community events, including the village's pantomime.

In a statement, Allendale Community Fire Station and Crew said: "On Thursday night, our Allendale crew were called out to an incident. This time it was one of the worst types of call out anyone in any emergency service can receive……to one of their own.

"We quickly responded to the scene, but our efforts were to be in vain.

"On that night, we lost not just a cherished, popular and much-loved colleague, but a friend, a brother and a father figure to Allendale, the local area, our crew and the wider embraces of Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service. We are heartbroken to say the least.

"Rest assured, Nigel was treated with respect, dignity and love throughout this tragic event not only by his team but by the paramedics and the police. We were privileged to be allowed to give Nigel a guard of honour as he left, which was one of the most difficult things imaginable. He would have been proud but I’m sure would have had a quick quip too.

"We would like to express our sincere thanks to our colleagues in our control room who had to take the call and mobilise the team, and the crews from Hexham and headquarters who attended the incident to help and support us at this horrific time. Also, to the paramedics from North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and officers from Northumbria Police who treated Nigel and us all with compassion and respect.

"A massive thank you goes out to you all too. In your own time of loss and grief, you have taken the time to say hello, give hugs or just smile at us. Your care and compassion, not only to us but each other is astounding.

"Our thoughts, just like yours, are with Nigel’s family, especially Wendy, Max and Molly, and we wish them all the love in the world.

"Rest in peace Nigel."

A spokesperson for North East Ambulance Service said: "We received a call from the fire service at 10.15pm on March 10 to assist with an incident at Baynes coaches. 

"We dispatched the community paramedics and an officer, but they were not needed on scene."