Tributes have been paid to a much-loved community campaigner known as “The Tombola King” because of his dedicated fundraising for a cancer charity.

Jim White, who was well-known throughout the North-East, has died suddenly of heart failure at the age of 83.

Jim and his late wife, Barbara (pictured below), ran J+B Entertainment, which booked country music bands across the region.

The Northern Echo:

He was also a familiar sight, standing outside the Great Aycliffe Cancer Hub in the town centre three times a week to sell tombola tickets for the charity.

Jim had two daughters, Allison and Lisa, and was a “doting grandad” to Daisy, 18, and Megan, 15.

Allison is chair and founder of Great Aycliffe Cancer Support Group, which has recently also established a base in the former Thorntons Chocolate shop in Darlington town centre.

With the help of her mum, Allison launched the charity after being diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia 14 years ago. Services provided by the charity include free patient transport, social outings, and respite breaks.

Allison said: “Dad was just always there whenever he was needed. He’s going to be a huge miss, not just to his family, but to the charity and the wider community.

“He raised a lot of money for the charity just by standing outside the cancer hub and using his big personality to sell tickets for his tombola. He struck up a particular friendship with one of our volunteers, Ian Sanderson, and he brought so much joy into people’s lives.

“Everyone’s in a state of shock because he’d always been so fit and healthy. He was our hero.”

Jim was born in Tudhoe but spent most of his childhood in Spennymoor, becoming a lifelong supporter of Spennymoor Town Football Club. When he and Barbara married, they moved to Newton Aycliffe.

He joined United Buses straight from school, working as an engineer. When he was made redundant in the 1980s, he worked as a bus fitter for J+C Coaches. Then, in 1993, he started the Your Bus company, which was part of the “bus wars” that broke out in the town.

Jim’s funeral will take place at 11am on Friday, April 26, at Darlington Crematorium, with family and friends gathering afterwards at The Sports Club in Newton Aycliffe. There is no dress code, and any donations, in lieu of flowers, will be in aid of the Great Aycliffe Cancer Support Group.