Tributes have been paid to a man who helped create a successful pub chain.
Former Sunderland resident John Weir was a well-known personality within the pub industry across the country.
The 67-year-old, lived in Wynard, Teesside and was highly respected within the trade.
The grandfather of five died at his home on Sunday after suffering a heart attack.
Today, business colleague John Sands paid tribute to his friend of more than 30 years.
Mr Sands had recruited Mr Weir, in 2004, during his time at Hartlepool-based Pubmaster before the pair launched their own company Wear Inns.
He said: “John’s death came as a complete shock and he will be very sadly missed. He was a devoted family man and someone who was my friend and colleague for over 30 years.
“John will be remembered as a great pubs man. He knew how to build effective businesses which give customers exactly what they want.”
John started his career within the industry when he was appointed as sales manager with William Stones in Sheffield with responsibilty for 125 pubs.
Three years later he became Regional Operations Director-Bass North and was appointed to William Stones Operations Board.
He then spent a number of years implementing capital investment programmes as Retail Director at Bass in the North East and Scotland and was part of the team that developed the Ember Inns brand.
Wear Inns was formed in 2006 and currently has 26 pubs in the North East and Yorkshire – most recently acquiring The Whistlestop near Leeds United’s Elland Road ground.
The company recently made the Investec Mid Market 100 list, ranking the fastest growing companies in the UK with a turnover of over £10 million, for the second time.
It follows the London Stock Exchange highlighting the company in its report, 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain, celebrating the country’s most dynamic and fastest-growing small and medium sized businesses.
Wear Inns, which has its headquarters in the old offices of the Castle Eden Brewery in County Durham, is the biggest independent freehold managed operator in the region in terms of volume of beer sold and has a workforce of 265.
Finance director Simon Duckworth has been appointed Acting Managing Director of Wear Inns and will be supported by the existing team.
John is survived by wife Barbara, sons, Scott & Grant and his five grandchildren.