A MAN who created an astonishing collection of radios and gramophones after being inspired by his brother’s death building the bridge over the River Kwai, has died aged 99.

Fred Hay spent decades collecting and restoring audio equipment from as far back as the 19th century to create a “museum” at his Stockton home.

Mr Hay’s youngest daughter, Janice, said his love affair with radios began thanks to his older brother Edwin, who died as a prisoner of war in Japan during the Second World War, after being forced to help construct the bridge in Thailand.

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Mr Hay was unable to take part in the war due to poor eyesight and hearing, so instead he carried on with what was his passion - singing and entertaining.

“He had a beautiful voice and he loved to entertain,” said Janice.

However, his performing career was halted after the left side of his face was paralysed following a major operation.

“He was in his early thirties when he had a mastoid in his ear,” Janice explained. “It was so close to his brain it could have killed him. He wouldn’t go back on stage after that.”

He started restoring the radios on a major scale in the 1970s, and at one point had more than 200 in his collection.

“He couldn’t start earlier - his mother wouldn’t let him turn the room into the way it is today,” said Janice. “He could mend anything – all his life he was employed repairing something whether it was a radio or an early television.”

“When we saw some of the radios, we thought “oh for god sake”, but he told us one day they would be a collector’s item,” said Janice.

Mr Hay had two other children, Rita and David, six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

“He would talk about his collection for hours, right up until he was 96 or 97,” said Janice.

“Even at 99, if you asked him anything, he would have told you.

“He used to call everyone his apprentice, and he was incredibly patient – everyone else would have given up.”

His family plan to donate all the radios to the British Vintage Wireless Society.

“We are very proud of what he did,” added Janice.

Mr Hay’s funeral will take place on Thursday at St Bede’s Chapel, Teesside Crematorium, Acklam, at 10.30am.