TRIBUTES have been paid to a community stalwart who was delivering newspapers until he died aged 76.
John 'Jack' Price died suddenly on January 5 following a shock discovery that he had liver and bowel cancer.
Jack had been admitted to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, three days earlier suffering from a burst ulcer, but medics discovered the cancer after taking a scan.
The dad-of-two was well-known around Wingate, having delivered the Peterlee Star every Wednesday and Friday to around 300 households for the past 15 years.
He would also help out his neighbours, and volunteered to work on four people's gardens every week, as well as putting neighbours' bins out.
His wife of 44 years, Anne, 65, said: "He was quite fit and healthy.
"He was only out delivering papers a few days before.
"It was a big shock, we are absolutely devastated.
"I have known him since I was 16-years-old.
"I have never gone a day without seeing him."
Anne said her husband would be out in "all weathers, whether hail, snow or blow" delivering the Peterlee Star, which is the Mail's free sister paper.
Seaham-born Jack had even continued his rounds despite slipping on ice and breaking his wrist two years ago.
He had started doing the round, which included the area around the village's Wellfield Road, as well as some properties in North Road, after taking over from his son, Alastair, now a 32-year-old police officer based in Chester-le-Street.
Anne, who sometimes accompanied her husband on the rounds by following him in her car, said: "He was all for the community, he would help anyone out.
"Everybody's been really devastated.
"People can't believe it.
"He was delivering the Peterlee Star one week and then he was not here the next."
Jill Hadfield, a 53-year-old nursing assistant from North Road West, was one of the regulars on Jack's round and a long-time friend.
She said: "Mr Price and his wife did all sorts for the community.
"He will be missed."
Jack moved from Seaham to Monk Hesleden, near Blackhall, when his parents, Mary and Joe, became caretakers of Hardwick Hall hotel and then the castle at Castle Eden.
He got a job working for Anne's uncle Norman Spark, who was under-manager at Blackhall pit, before moving on to Nimmo's brewery, in Castle Eden, which later became Whitbread's.
The couple, who also have a 42-year-old daughter called Lisa Price, met when Anne was 16 and they have lived in Wingate for the past 44 years.
Jack's funeral was held last Thursday at Wingate's Holy Trinity Church.