EVERY year since 1977, Darlington’s biggest Elvis fan has taken a day off work to pay homage to the King of Rock n Roll.

On the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, Dave Hooper dusts off his records and celebrates the memory of his idol by blasting his hits throughout the day.

This year, Mr Hooper will break his decades-long habit by sharing his celebrations with revellers at Age UK Darlington.

When he tried out his unusual excuse for not working on the charity’s chief executive Gillian Peel, she persuaded him to transform his annual tribute into a day-long party.

On Tuesday, August 16, Mr Hooper will be the guest of honour at Age UK Darlington’s Elvis Celebration Day.

Ahead of the event, he spoke of his love for the King and shared his doubts over Elvis’ untimely death.

The 68-year-old first heard Heartbreak Hotel as a 12-year-old and “that was that – after hearing the song, I couldn’t get enough.”

He said: “My mam had five kids and there wasn’t much money about but my grandmother bought me an acoustic guitar and music became my first – and last - passion.

“I loved everything Elvis did but the only way I could get to see him was going to see his films and he was a better singer than actor.

“For a shilling, I’d buy Elvis Monthly and it all went from there, he’s my hero and always has been.

“I met my wife when I was 12 and she’s always loved him but she wouldn’t let me call our daughter Lisa-Marie.

“In 1999, we got to cross the doorstep of Graceland and I just couldn’t believe I was somewhere he’d been.”

Ruminating on the day the music died, Mr Hooper said: “I was in bed when my wife told me Elvis had died.

“For the next 48 hours, I didn’t go anywhere, I watched it on our black and white telly and listened to him.

“Every anniversary since, I’ve played him all day and he’s never far from our thoughts.

“But all sorts has been written his death and I’m 50/50 on whether he died back then.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d been in witness protection as I think he was tied up with President Nixon – we’ll never know, though.

“I’d laugh my head off if he came on telly one day and said I’m Elvis, it’d be great.”

The Elvis Celebration Day, featuring music, dance and American food, takes place at Age UK Darlington, Beaumont Street West on Tuesday, August 16 from 11am until 2pm.