Council officials have paid a unique tribute to a popular town taxi boss following his death.
Bosses at Hartlepool Borough Council have decided to “retire” Ray Tweddle’s licence number so that it cannot be used again in the future.
Ian Harrison, the council’s trading standards and licensing manager, said: “A number of years ago we granted a request from Ray that his taxi badge number be changed to 2222 so that it reflected the telephone number of his beloved Streamline Taxis – 222222.
“This is the first time the council has taken a decision to “retire” a particular licence number, and we believe it is the most fitting way to recognise Ray’s special status in the history of the town’s taxi trade.
“We hope he would be happy to know that his number – which represents so much of what he worked for in his life – is to be set aside and kept special just for him and his family.”
Ray was a long-standing member of the town’s Taxi Owners Working Group, which meets quarterly with council officials to discuss ways of developing the taxi trade and to resolve any issues that might arise.
Mr Harrison added: “His valued input at these meetings contributed greatly to the ongoing development of the town’s taxi trade, directly benefiting residents of the town.
“Ray was a great character and was well known in taxi circles, not just in Hartlepool but right across the North East.
“If he wasn’t working with taxis, he was talking about taxis – and as a licensing team we always enjoyed working with him.”
A fleet of cabs are due to follow the funeral cortege from Ray’s home at Hartfields to All Saints’ Church ahead of his funeral tomorrow.
The hearse will also go past the offices of Streamline Taxis, the firm that Ray started more than 40 years ago, in Tower Street.
The service will take place at 2pm and people are being asked to wear something yellow in a nod to his yellow taxis.
Ray died peacefully in his sleep earlier this month.