A TRUSTED vet, talented photographer, entertaining speaker and friend to many – just a few of the words used to describe Neville Turner who passed away on Monday.

Mr Turner was well known in Teesdale, where he worked as a vet for decades, and shared his passion for the dale and career with audiences around the world as a village hall speaker and cruise ship lecturer.

Born in Crook in 1944, Mr Turner went to Wolsingham Grammar School before studying veterinary science at Edinburgh University.

After four years practising in Taunton, Somerset, he got his dream job with the Harris brothers in Barnard Castle.

Alongside his work, which eventually saw him specialise in farm veterinary, he was a keen photographer and amassed a huge collection of pictures capturing the natural magic of the North Pennines.

Wife Chris said: "When he started working vets did everything but he did always love his farm animals, he had people's total respect and was very popular with farmers because they knew he would always do his very best for them and their animals.

"We were invited on the QE2 but he only had one week's holiday, so we flew to New York and sailed back. That was the start of his second career and we were so lucky to be able to go to places we never dreamed of.

"We did the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, Arctic Circle, Mumbai, New Zealand and the Caribbean many times.

"The very last one was along the Suez, the coast of Africa and ended up in Mauritius. It really was a wonderful opportunity."

Mr Turner had been unwell for about 18 months with pulmonary fibrosis and seriously unwell for three.

He went into Darlington Memorial Hospital on Sunday and died peacefully the following day, Monday, May 25, aged 75.

Mrs Turner said: "He was the most beautiful man, I had a romance with him for 29 years.

"He was a loving father to Dan, Victoria and Laura and grandfather to many and had so many wonderful friends.

"He loved every day of his life, up until two days before his death."

Mr Turner has been described by friends and clients throughout Teesdale as a true gentleman, with many talents.

Retired Barnard Castle GP Ian Ross, who with wife Marilyn has been a family friend for a long time, said: "He was a very intelligent man,with very diverse interests.

"He was a great historian.

"The talks he gave were wonderful, he had such a collection of stories and pictures that he could give a talk every night of the year and each would be different.

"He gave many talks in village halls and at, and in support of, The Witham.

"He looked after injured birds in an aviary at home, if someone found an injured owl they'd go to Neville and he'd look after it until it was well enough to release into the wild, quietly doing good in the background.

"He was also a keen linguist and a member of a French conversation group."

James Dykes, former landlord of the Three Tuns in Eggleston, said: "We were friends for years, and were both in the Barnard Castle and District Round Table with which he supported fundraising for local charities in the fellowship spirit.

"He was held in very high esteem by everyone who knew him.

"We also shared a passion for music, he was an incredibly keen and accomplished bandsman with Middleton-in-Teesdale and Barnard Castle bands and had enormous knowledge.

"He was very much involved in local agricultural shows, and by specialising in farm veterinary practise was really respected and trusted by the rural community.

"The Dale will miss him very much."