THE children of a North-East folk legend have thanked their dad for “making the world a better place” as they made an emotional farewell to him at his funeral this afternoon.

Hundreds of friends, family and fans turned out to say their final goodbye to Teesside Troubadour Vin Garbutt, who died last week at the age of 69.

The Northern Echo: Folk singer Vin Garbutt

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Mr Garbutt’s four children fought back tears as they paid tribute to him during a service that was moving but also full of laughter at Middlesbrough Cathedral, in Coulby Newham.

Crowds gathered outside in the sunshine more than an hour before the service was due to begin, and the 800-seat cathedral was packed to the rafters, with many forced to stand as they paid their last respects.

Reverend Father Peter Ryan, a close friend of Mr Garbutt and his family, led the service and described him as a “genius” and a “legend in his own lifetime”.

In a joint eulogy, the folk singer’s four children, Emma, Time, Katie and Louis said it seemed an “impossible task” to summarise their dad’s career and achievements.

“We would say though, the ambition in Dad’s life wasn't the pursuit of fame or glory, but to communicate and have a relationship with as many people as possible, with a sincere purpose.

His children also spoke about how Mr Garbutt discovered music through a discarded guitar in his brother’s wardrobe, his love of the Teesside countryside, and his mischievous pranks as a child, including balancing bowls of water on the top of doors.

“We could never do justice to Dad’s life, and it's a formidable task to live up to him, he's a big act to follow.

“But we have tried to leave just a taste of the beauty of his existence.

“Dad was loaned to us filled with love, compassion and passion, and now he’s been called back home."

Reading quotes from their mother and Mr Garbutt’s wife, Pat, they said: “He would say to me every single day, “Have I told you that I love you today?”

“And without fail the answer would be yes. He was trying to give that message of love to all of you through his music and laughter.

“Did Vin make the world a better place? I think we all know the answer to that. Now it is our responsibility to carry that love away with us and hand it on."

Michael McGeary, a friend of Mr Garbutt who was working with the singer on a biography, also paid tribute to “Teesside’s greatest ambassador”.

“Hearing him sing songs about the places we knew in the strongest of Teesside accents was always a delight.

Getting to know him better in recent years as he’s talked to me about his life has “been a real joy and I will treasure every moment I spent with him.

Mr Garbutt, who was born in South Bank and lived near Loftus at the time of his death, enjoyed a music career spanning nearly 50 years.

He was originally taken on as an ICI apprentice at Wilton but at the age of 21 became a professional singer-songwriter.

He won best live act award in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and was also nominated for folk singer of the year.