TRIBUTES have been paid to a North-East racing legend who has died aged 82.

Jimmy Blumer from Darlington began his career at the age of 18 when he took part in the 1950 Monte Carlo Rally - the youngest driver in the oldest car; a 1938 Morris Ten.

The apprentice photographer had bought it as a run about from Portland Garage, in the town's Woodland Road.

He raced throughout the 1950s and 1960s, competing in races across Europe in cars such as the Moss Cooper Manxtail, Lotus Eleven and his beloved Cooper Monaco.

He also drove for Ecurie Ecosse and Jimmy Clark's Border Reivers team, amongst others and once had Jackie Stewart as his number two driver.

In 1962 Mr Blumer shared the Equipe Endeavour Jaguar MK2 with Mike Parkes to win the Motor Six Hour Race at Brands Hatch and the following year he finished fifth in the British Saloon Car Championship, driving the Alan Andrews Racing Cortina GT.

He also had a pilot’s licence and was a keen photographer who became known for his stunning aerial shots of the North East – many of which appeared in the popular Northern Echo series Eye in the Sky from the Past.

A proud Darlingtonian, Mr Blumer maintained links with motor traders in the town following his retirement from motorsport in the mid-60s ran the Bluebell service station on Acklam Road, Middlesbrough, for several years.

His twin sons, Paul and Guy, aged 46, have each taken on one of their father’s passions, with Guy racing in various championships, including the Northern Saloon and Sports Car Championship, and Paul earning his pilot’s licence.

The brothers paid tribute to their father whom friends described as a “real gentleman”.

Paul said: “People have said to us that he was one of a kind, he was very down to earth and had good honest values.

“I suppose you could say that in his day he must have been a bit of a thrill-seeker to do the things he did and I think he was proud that we both followed in his footsteps in a way by taking on two of the things he most enjoyed; flying and racing.”

Guy added: “People liked to be around him, they really enjoyed his company.”

Mr Blumer was elected a life member of the British Racing Driver’s Club and was the honorary president of the Sunbeam Tiger Owner’s Club.

He remained a familiar figure in Darlington with his partner Margaret Keelan and stayed connected to the Darlington motor trade right up to his death at Darlington Memorial Hospital on August 24, following a short illness.

He leaves behind his sons and three grandchildren.

Mr Blumer’s funeral service will be held at 12.15pm on September 6 at Holy Trinity Church on Woodlands Road.