Heartfelt tributes are being paid following the sad death of a much-loved community stalwart earlier today.

Billy Robson is known in Consett and the surrounding areas of County Durham for helping thousands of young people turn their lives around.

The devoted family man has passed away at the age 68 following a battle with prostate cancer.

In a statement posted on Facebook his daughters said: “It is with the heaviest of hearts we announce the passing of our father Billy Robson.

“He passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his devoted wife and his four daughters, early this morning.

“To say we are heartbroken is an understatement but we would like to thank everyone for their kind words, wishes and support.

“Our dad was our hero and our guiding light and we will forever miss and love you.”

The Northern Echo: A keen fisherman, Billy, who was married to Bernadette, was originally from Leadgate, and had four daughters and a son, Lee, who died from leukaemia in 2013.

Billy worked as a motor mechanic at Consett Steelworks before it closed in 1980 and became a youth worker employed by Consett YMCA, eventually taking over as chief executive.

With youth clubs running several times a week, Billy was dedicated to helping youngsters stay out of trouble.

He ran outward bound activities and launched Consett Amateur Boxing Club to give teenagers a positive way to channel their energy.

The YMCA also developed a music studio and an amateur dramatics group to help young people follow their dreams.

When the charity was struggling due to a lack of funding in 2018 Billy turned the organisation into Delta North, a school providing alternative education for children in the area.

The Northern Echo: Billy with Alex Watson Billy with Alex Watson (Image: GAVIN HAVERY)Durham County Councillor Alex Watson, who is chairman of Delta North and a long-time family friend, said Billy would be sadly missed.

He said: “He has left a legacy that will never be forgotten.

“He was a super man. It is devastating for so many people.

“Billy is going to be a big miss and his death leaves a massive whole in the community.”

Cllr Watson said Billy commanded respect from pupils at Delta North and said the school was in mourning at his passing.

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Cllr Watson said Billy was always thinking of others, which is reflected in his last Facebook post in which he shared the devastating details of his latest diagnosis.

He said: “Please please please as a plea from me that if anything is niggling you about your health, go get it checked out.

“It could be the difference between life and death.

“I want to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ all for your friendship and support.

"God bless.”

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