TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of a much-loved community figure nicknamed "Mr Allendale".

Nigel Baynes (63), owner of Baynes Travel, died on Thursday evening (March 10) after an accident at the company's yard.

Mr Baynes was also a retained firefighter and a leading figure in many of Allendale's community events.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Graeme Binning said: “It is with the deepest sorrow we can confirm the death of Firefighter Nigel Baynes. 

“Nigel was a pivotal, popular, and respected member of Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service’s Allendale crew, and has been, since he joined the service in 1980. This length of service is a clear example of Nigel's commitment and dedication in providing a service to his community.  

“He will not only be missed by his family, friends, and colleagues, he was also a key and prominent figure within the Allendale community. Our thoughts, best wishes and focus are now with all those who have been affected by this tragedy. 

“Our focus at this stage is to support Nigel’s family and the crew at Allendale Fire Station.”

Coun. Colin Horncastle, Chair of the Fire Authority and county councillor for South Tynedale, said: “We are all deeply shocked and saddened by the death of Nigel Baynes. 

“Nigel was extremely well-known in his local community, not just for his work with the fire service, but for everything else he did for the people of Allendale and surrounding areas. 

“Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this very difficult time.” 

Flags at fire stations across Northumberland have been flying at half-mast from Friday morning (March 11) until Monday morning (March 14) as a sign of respect and mourning.