A farmer and milkman well-known throughout the North East has been paid a loving tribute by his family and community.

Philippa Smith, 31, daughter of David Smith, 75, a farm owner in Staindrop, Barnard Castle, has paid tribute to her father who she described as a "kind family man."

Mr Smith had previously rented a farm in Ryhope, Sunderland before purchasing land in County Durham 23 years ago.

She said: "A lot of people remember him from the village when he was a milkman, the Smith family are very well-known in Ryhope, South Farm, Willow Farm, he wqas very popular.

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"I didn't realise how well-known and popular he was untill all those comments came flooding in.

"I thought 'wow,' a lot of people did know him. Everybody knew him, when I was a child and [we] went back to Ryhope, everywhere you went people would wave and say hello, and I was like 'how did you know them, Dad?'

"He'd say 'I know everybody in the village.' He [had] a lovely smile, everybody said all the girls liked him, he was a bit of a flirt."

She said her mother, Rosalyn, 63, met David in 1990 and the two were together for 33 years.

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She said one thing her father always appreciated was her mother's willingness to "muck in" with farm work.

"My dad said to my mum 'what will you remember most about our time together,' and she said 'hard work.'" Ms Smith added.

Ms Smith said her father had begun feeling poorly last Christmas, and was later diagnosed with secondary bowel cancer.

She said he was offered treatment but was not able to receive it for a few weeks, with doctors giving him weeks to live.

Ms Smith said her father lived for eight weeks after the prognosis.

Rosalyn said the family moved away from producing milk around 1991, before focusing on arable farming and pedigree stock, before ultimately moving on to Aberdeen Angus.

Philippa said her family had been farming in Ryhope since 1921 before Mr Smith moved to their Bolton Hill farm.

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Paying tribute to her father, Philippa said: "He was very kind, and he always had time for people.

"He did everything for his family, he was very much a family man. [He will] be a huge miss."

Philippa said it was her father's "dream" to purchase his own land and work off it, and he had achieved this.

Many in the Ryhope community reacted to the news of Mr Smith's passing with sadness and shared memories of their experiences with him.

One said: "Sincere condolences. Dave used to deliver milk to my mum and Dad who at the time lived in the 'Old Fire Station ' now Blue Watch. Take care and God bless."

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Another said: "Very sad news, I was in the same class at school with him. He was always a popular lad."

Adding to this, one resident spoke about how he could always be seen with a smile on his face, they said: "Don't thinks there's many people in Ryhope who don't have a memory of him at some point in their life.

"He was always smiling. Thinking of your family at this sad time."