TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘community hero’ and 'charismatic character' police volunteer who died following a short term illness last week.

Derek Briggs began his volunteering work with Durham Police in 2015, serving as a community speed watch volunteer for seven years to help keep the area’s roads safe.

Working closely with the Chester-le-Street Neighbourhood Team, he made some great friendships with some of the local officers and PCSOs.

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As well as his role as a police volunteer, Derek chaired the Town Centre Residents Association and was involved in the Area Action Partnership group, many local food bank initiatives and Friends of the Railway.

Speaking of Derek, Inspector Lee Morris, from Chester-Le-Street Neighbourhood Team, paid tribute to the "cherished" volunteer. 

He said: “Derek was heavily involved in decisions made around the future of Chester-Le-Street and its residents. He devoted a great deal of his time for the benefit of the area.

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"He was a very well-respected member of the community and I as well as the rest of the team were saddened to hear of his passing.

“Derek was a very charismatic man, who had the strength of character to express his opinion and stand up for those around him.

“He will be sadly missed by myself and the rest of my team who send their condolences to his family at this sad time.”

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