HARTLEPOOL MP Iain Wright paid tribute to Ken Johnson in a personal letter to his grieving family.
Mr Wright had known Ken since he was a small child and said he always looked on him with “real respect and affection”.
He was one of around 200 mourners who attended Ken’s funeral yesterday afternoon.
The letter, which was hand-written and personally addressed to Ken’s widow Olwen, was read out to mourners during the service.
Mr Wright said: “I particularly admired the fact that he always took an interest in everybody he met, and treated them as equals, regardless of age and status.
“I look upon the encounters I had with Ken all through my life – as a kid hanging around the launderette to be close to my nana, as a Pools fan and as the town’s member of Parliament – and Ken always treated me the same, with courtesy and respect.
“That’s a true measure of a man, and Ken was a lovely kind and big character of a man.”