IN a last ditch attempt to garner Brexit votes, Boris Johnson visited a village pub near Darlington on Wednesday.

Flying in by helicopter, the former London mayor and Vote Leave campaigner poured a pint at The George in Piercebridge before giving a short speech to young supporters.

Durham and York University students representing the Students for Britain campaign were invited to hear Mr Johnson give a final rallying call ahead of today's referendum vote.

Urging them to give the campaign one last push, he said: “We have hours to sort this out, let’s make sure we go for every single vote.

“The people of this country face a historic choice tomorrow and I think we can do it – we can vote leave and take back control.”

In an interview with The Northern Echo, he said a North-East vote was important in deciding the referendum.

Mr Johnson said: “This is hugely important for the people of the North-East, they have a massive amount to gain in voting to leave.

“It’s a renaissance area for the British economy with a fantastic manufacturing and service industry and it can do brilliantly if we vote out.”

He claimed that cash would become available to plug any gaps in regional funding left by a potential Leave vote.

However, when quizzed on specific spending priorities and plans for the North-East in event of a vote to leave, Mr Johnson said any decisions on that basis would have to be made by the Government.

He also said concerns around a potential rise in tuition costs for students hoping to study in a post-Brexit EU would have to be addressed at Government level.

Asked how much he understood about the region and its concerns following two brief campaigning visits – one by helicopter – he added: “The helicopter was paid for by Vote Leave because today I’ve been going all over the country.

“I’m not going to pretend I am as expert on the North-East as I am about London – that would be crazy.

“In so many ways it represents Britain at its very, very best and it has a fantastic future ahead of it.”

Earlier, in a rally speech in Selby, North Yorkshire, he said: "This will not come again. Vote Leave tomorrow, take back control of our country and our democracy and stick up for hundreds of millions of people around Europe who agree with us, who agree that the EU is going in the wrong direction."

The June 23 referendum date could be remembered as "our country's independence day", he told activists. "I think we are on the verge of victory," he added.

The eve-of-polling day operation involved journeys by plane and helicopter as Mr Johnson rallied Leave activists. His gruelling schedule began at London's Billingsgate Fish Market where he posed with a salmon and hit out at the EU's Commons Fisheries Policy.

Setting out his ambition for Thursday's referendum, he said he wanted an immigration system that offered a "fairer policy to non-European countries" and Brexit would allow the country to tackle the "uncontrolled immigration" from the EU.

His campaign tour took him to Maldon, Essex, the constituency of Brexit-backing Cabinet minister John Whittingdale.

Among the usual crowd of well-wishers wanting selfies, the rally was interrupted by former Tory supporter Nigel Brunt, who said: "Democracy will win tomorrow and it will be Remain."

Mr Brunt, who was jeered by the Vote Leave activists, told Mr Whittingdale he hoped he would resign after the vote.

There was also a heckler in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, where 17-year-old Remain supporter Will Talyor challenged Mr Johnson during a walkabout.

The sixth-form student said: "I'm annoyed that I can't vote and as a young person it's my future."

But in a boost for Mr Johnson a passing bus driver sounded his horn and shouted "Boris for PM".

During his helicopter flights Mr Johnson posed in the pilot seat and quipped "let's put on Ride Of The Valkyries", in a reference to the film Apocalypse Now.