The family of a popular Hartlepool taxi boss have paid tribute to the “larger than life” character after he died at the weekend.
Ray Tweddle, known affectionately as Twed, who set up Streamline Taxis, died peacefully early on Saturday morning at home after battling health problems for five years.
His wife Julie and daughter Lindsey paid tribute to Ray for his constant bravery in the face of several health setbacks and remembered his amazing sense of humour.
Julie said: “He was funny, a large-as-life character. He was always full of fun, always had a story and his sense of humour was second to none, right till the end.
“His favourite thing in life was talking to people with the highest and the lowest of people.
“He never judged anyone or forgot where he came from.”
But one thing he always stayed tight-lipped on was his age, with Julie still keeping it a closely guarded secret.
Ray had previously bounced back from cancer, nine bouts of pneumonia and five lots of septicaemia.
Three years ago he spent almost seven months in James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, when he was suddenly struck down by Guillain-Barre syndrome.
The rare viral condition left him temporarily paralysed and unable to walk.
It was while recovering in hospital that he proposed to and married the love of his life, Julie.
Despite his condition he joined caring Streamline colleagues to complete the last few hundred yards of a sponsored walk from Peterlee to their base in Tower Street.
More recently he suffered from chest problems.
Julie added: “He took everything with dignity and never complained once. I called him a brave soldier. I worshipped the ground he walked on.”
Ray is best known in town for setting up Streamline Taxis, which he started from scratch with just one cab more than 40 years ago.
At its height the company had 130 taxis across town.
“They were the first yellow cabs in town,” said daughter Lindsey.
Julie added: “It was his life. It wasn’t a job, it was like his hobby.”
Ray was also an animal lover and was well-known for feeding the pigeons outside the Streamline offices from his special pint glass.
His funeral will take place at Stranton Church on a date to be announced.
A fleet of taxis are due to follow Ray’s last journey and the family has asked people to wear a splash of yellow in a nod to the colour of his taxis.
Ray also leaves sister Linda, stepdaughter Jane, brother-in-law Tony and grandchildren Katie and Taylor-Ray.
A ‘lovely boss’ and a ‘smashing guy’
Tributes have been paid to Ray on our website and Facebook page.
On our website at www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk Mary Dodd wrote: “My mum, Amy Phillips, used to work for him years ago, and when I texted her that Ray had passed, she was very sad and said he was a lovely boss.”
jackndanny wrote: “R.I.P twed.”
Also commenting on out website, manmade said: “Ray was smashing guy a one off his laugh was infectious.
“We will never see the likes of him again. God Bless Ray. & Rest in peace. X
On Facebook Gary Barnard wrote: “He was a good boss will be missed.”
Barry Kenny commented: “Good bloke he let me and the lads out o the fens rent his caravan cheap in Benidorm once poor fella RIP.”
Emily Quinn said: “Another good man got his angel wings fly high rip.”
Angela Smith wrote: “Thinking of you Julie xxx.”
Wendy Douglas said: “God bless you Twed RIP we will all miss you Wendy.”
Gwen Cass commented: “Rip twed thinking of the family x.”
Barbara Watson paid respect saying: “R.I.P twed thinking of all family circle x.”
Elaine Docherty Brown said: “R.I.P thoughts go out to his family x.”
Janice Ward said: “Rip.”