“IF you spoke to him, you walked away with a smile.”

The words of Roy Hall’s family after the popular Bishop Auckland man died suddenly on February 5, aged58.

Roy was born with learning disabilities and the biggest heart and personality imaginable.

His family moved to the town, from Winlaton Mill, when Roy was eight and he attended school at Warwick Road and Murphy Crescent. He then spent 34 years at the old adult training centre at Tindale Crescent, through which he got placements such as a weekly role at Woodhouse Close Library where he enjoyed helping out for many years.

Sister Alyson Brazier said: “He was so lovely, he didn’t just bring us pleasure but everyone who knew him.

“His personality was such that he couldn’t be horrible, he didn’t have the capacity to say a wrong word.

“Because of his warm personality, people were drawn to him. If you spoke to him, you walked away with a smile.”

Roy was a football fanatic and enjoyed Bishop Auckland FC matches at Kingsway and Heritage Park, with dad Jack, and went to Middlesbrough games, with brother-in-law John Brazier.

Mr Hall said: “We’d walk around the ground at Bishop and got to the stage that everybody you passed would say ‘hello Roy, we going to win today?’."

“He was a social butterfly at events, everyone knew and loved Roy,” said Mr Brazier.

He also had a passion for cars – often visiting garages to see the models on the forecourt or in brochures, trains – particularly watching the conservation underway in the workshop at Locomotion in Shildon and old rock n roll.

Roy adored his family including late niece Emily, niece Kate and great-niece Edith.

Mr Hall said, after family, Roy's first love was football and his second was cars.

“On holiday in Spain once he spotted a car 100 yards away, under a cover and covered in sand, you could only see about six inches on the wheel. He knew exactly what it was.”

Friends were also made at Woodhouse Close Church where he attended a youth club, the old YMCA, The Gateway club at King James I School and in shops, particularly newsagents Etheringtons and WH Smiths where he would buy magazines.

Mother Marlene said: “He visited a lot of families on the Woodhouse Close Estate for a cup of coffee. I’m sure Roy gave them a lot of pleasure with his company but I want them to know we are so grateful to them for welcoming him.

“We, as a family, really don’t know that many people here. We still tend to socialise with family 30 miles away. But Roy knew so many people, we’ve been overwhelmed by the cards and comments.

“Wherever we went with Roy people would talk to him, he remembered people and left a nice, lasting impression."

Roy Hall’s funeral will be at Woodhouse Close Church on Wednesday, February 19 at 1.45pm.