TRIBUTES have been paid to a fundraiser who collected thousands of pounds for fellow sufferers of an incurable degenerative disease.

David Hainsworth died on Saturday aged 50 after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2000.

The father-of-one, from Richmond, North Yorkshire, raised more than £42,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

His fundraising efforts included travelling from John O' Groats to Land's End in his electric wheelchair, a trip that was temporarily halted by Highlands police who claimed his chair was unsuitable for use on the roads.

He was also carried on a stretcher up Pen-y-Ghent and organised 4x4 off-road trials events, which he had taken part in before his illness.

In 2001, the former head chef at The Palmer Flatts Hotel, at Aysgarth, Wensleydale travelled from Richmond to Downing Street by wheelchair to raise money and urge the Prime Minister to press for more research into the illness.

Mr Hainsworth's wife Viv, 48, said: "Everybody loved him because he was so down-to-earth and determined. Everything he did was for other people, not for himself."

He also leaves a daughter, 18-year-old Becky.

Richmond MP William Hague met Mr Hainsworth on several occasions.

"We're all deeply saddened by his death," said the MP.

Tricia Holmes, director of care development at the MND Association, said: "David faced MND with great stoicism, humour and bravery. His remarkable strength of character also shone through in his determination to raise as much money and awareness of MND as possible."

A funeral service for Mr Hainsworth will be held at St Mary's Church, Richmond, tomorrow from 12.30pm.

The coffin will be escorted by friends driving 4x4 vehicles.