HEARTFELT tributes have been paid following the death of a primary school teacher and bandmaster.

David Jackson taught children in the region for over 50 years and shared his passion for brass band music with thousands of youngsters.

He became the bandmaster of the Consett Salvation Army Band, the oldest in the world, at 21 and went on to set up Consett Junior Brass in 1973, and then Consett Brass.

He taught in primary schools for 52 years and spent a quarter of a century at Consett Junior School near his home on Medomsley Road.

He had been diagnosed with cancer and died on Saturday surrounded by family at the University Hospital of North Durham.

Durham County Councillor Alex Watson said: “David was one of the greatest human beings you could ever wish to meet.

“He brought music to Consett and taught hundreds of our children not only to play instruments but inspired them to appreciate music. Consett Junior Brass is synonymous with David and instilled happiness and love to thousands of people.

“He will never be forgotten. If any person should have a memorial dedicated to them, then David should have one.”

Durham County Councillor Owen Temple nominated Mr Jackson for a chairman’s medal for his tireless work within the community in 2012.

He said: “It’s hard to overstate the impact of this dreadful news, most of all on his family as he was very much a family man, but also on the town as a whole. David inspired and developed generations of young musicians in Consett through the junior school band and the Salvation Army. His gift was infectious and a gift for life in those he touched.

“Ex-pupils played in the bands he led for decades. David was also a fine primary school teacher who continued his career long after his retirement age because his passion to develop children remained undimmed.”

Mr Jackson, who was 73, was married to Lorraine, 59, and was a father-of-three and grandfather-of-one.

His son, Marc, said: “He had a huge heart, for his family, for his church and especially for this community. He loved Consett and the people of Consett.

“His legacy is the decades of service he has given to this town as a teacher, as a friend as the ‘band man’ as so many people on the streets knew him.”