The wife of a well-known North East vinyl store owner has paid a heartfelt tribute to her husband after his sudden death.

Clare Butchart has paid a loving tribute to her husband Tom Butchart, 50, owner of Sound it Out Records in Stockton, after he suddenly passed away at his shop on Friday (June 9) despite the best efforts of ambulance workers and shop staff.

She said she was moved by the kind words from those who knew him, saying they served as a comfort to her and Tom's family.

Staff at Sound it Out Records hailed Tom as the "heart and soul" of the business and said they had lost a leader after his passing.

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The Northern Echo:

Ms Butchart said: "Thank you to everyone for the many kind, heartfelt messages we’ve received about Tom.

"There are so many of them which shows just how well loved and respected Tom was. We are utterly devastated at his loss but people’s kind words are a comfort to me and Tom’s family at this impossibly difficult time.

"We’d like to thank the paramedics and police who tried so hard to save Tom’s life and for their kindness in dealing with us in our shock.

"Also, to Mark and Shane who were at the shop at the time and resuscitated Tom until help arrived. We are forever grateful.

"Finally, thank you to the Northern Echo, Evening Gazette and other local news for the support they gave Tom and Sound It Out over the years. It meant the world to him”

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The Northern Echo:

Tom died suddenly in his shop on Friday morning from a suspected heart attack, despite the best efforts of staff members, Mark and Shane, to resuscitate him.

He grew up in Eaglescliffe and attended Egglescliffe School before opening his vinyl record shop Sound it Out in Stockton in 1998.

He leaves behind his wife Clare, his parents, three younger brothers and hundreds of friends who adored him.

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Tom’s staff at Sound it Out Records, including Chris Smith, Stuart Willoughby, Mel Butler, Graham Seaman and Carl Buckle, said: "Tom was the heart and soul of Sound it Out. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of music.

"People would come into the shop as customers but leave as friends. Sound it Out wasn't just a shop, it was a community hub for the area's creative scene.

"Everybody who worked for Tom felt he was more than a boss. We were all a gang, and we've lost our leader"