A BUSINESSMAN who has been described as a “true gentleman” by his family and friends died suddenly after taking ill at a meeting of a charitable group.
David Jukes, who was a director at Hartlepool United for 13 years from 1984 until 1997, was at The Grand Hotel, in Swainson Street, with his fellow members of the Hartlepool Rotary Club, when he collapsed.
The 63-year-old – who also owned antiques business Kiwi Trading, in Osborne Road – was “fine and eating and laughing and joking” just seconds beforehand.
Other Rotarians stepped in to try and help resucitate David while paramedics rushed to the scene and took him to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.
Despite the best efforts of everyone concerned though, David, who also owned town businesses Oakesway Motors and Park View Motors, was pronounced dead.
Today his heartbroken partner of seven years, Sheila Frost, members of his family, and best friend Alan Bamford, said his death would forever leave a hole in their lives.
Sheila, 62, a retired GP from Surrey, said: “He’d been fine, he was in good spirits and was the same as he normally was. He’d had a chest problem for years but that wasn’t any worse, it was just something he lived with, it didn’t hinder him.
“On the night he was at the rotary he was sitting with friends and was apparently eating and laughing and joking when all of a sudden he collapsed.
“He was taken to hospital but they couldn’t get him back.”
She added: “David was lovely. He would do anything for anyone. He looked after his family well and he looked after me, he loved sport and he loved life.
“He was a very special person. He was a gentleman.”
A spokesman for Hartlepool United said: “We will always be thankful for the work he did as a director and he has always been a big supporter of the football club.
“He was a regular at the Vic. He will be sadly missed.”
David was born and bred in Hartlepool and was one of five siblings, the late Rose Rumble, Dorren Murray, 79, the late Barbara Couchman who passed away aged 55 in 2000, and Ann Tiplady, 67.
He attended Lynnfield Primary School and Dyke House Secondary. When he left school he got a traineeship as a mechanic at Johnson’s garage in Lucan Street, Hartlepool, and then moved onto Gales Motors, off York Road, as a car sales executive.
The time served mechanic then opened Oakesway Motors, on the corner of Murray Street and Sandringham Road, in his 20s, and then Park View Motors in his 30s, from the 1980s until around 2005.
David, who was a Pools season-ticket holder and also a Manchester United supporter, also enjoyed many hobbies over the years including taekwando, tennis, table tennis, and walking.
His niece, Claire Palmer, said: “He wasn’t showy or gregarious, he was profound and classy, a gentleman.
“There will be a huge void in all of our lives. It’s been a terrible shock.”
David’s nephew Neil Murray, 55, said: “He achieved everything he set out to do, he was always a success. He built his businesses up from scratch by himself. We’re all very proud of him.”
And pal of 30 years Alan, who was on the Pools board with David, added: “We were just talking about renewing our season tickets on Monday a few hours before this happened.
“It’s so sad. I don’t think you would find anyone who knew him that wouldn’t say what a great man he was.”
A spokesman for the North East Ambulance Service confirmed that paramedics were sent to The Grand Hotel around 7.30pm on Monday.
He said: “Two ambulances were sent to an incident at the Grand Hotel at 7.19pm on Monday.
“We conveyed the patient to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.”