THE family of William Robert Linwood Hepburn have paid tribute to a man who “always saw the light from the darkness”.

Mr Hepburn died on May 18, aged 78. He was born in Glasgow, but lived much of his life in the North-East, most recently in Bishop Auckland.

He had been a member of the Merchant Navy, a draughtsman, entrepreneur and resident drummer at Tindale Crescent Club.

His daughter, Karen, and son Garry said: “He was an amazingly kind, charismatic, fun, enigmatic, intelligent, charming, lovely and generous gentlemanly caring man.

“Bill, as he was known, loved his drumming at Tindale Crescent Club, he enjoyed drives out in the countryside and spending time with his daughter, son, granddaughters and the company of much-loved extended family and friends.

“Dad was special, he loved life and people, he made time for everyone he met.

“He had a wonderful sense of humour, always seeing the light from the darkness. Radiating that beautiful charisma with your smile and laughter.

“He was always full of fun and frolics making us and everyone around him laugh with his stories, turning the most harrowing into the most wholesome, heartfelt and humble. “

Mr Hepburn suffered from asbestosis and dementia.

Mr Hepburn was a proud grandad of Summer and Amber. Respected and much-loved cousin of Anne, Ronald, John, Richard, Lynsey, Alison and nephew to Uncle Ronnie. Uncle Bill and Aunt Helen (RIP).