A DARLINGTON family pay tribute to a family man who shook hands with a king and "hand enough stories to fill a book."

Francis Davis Ketch died peacefully on October 18 this year at St Teresa's Hospice at the age of 82 years.

Born in Hundens Lane on November 5 1937, Frank was the youngest of five children of Percival Ketch and Doris Lillian.

Frank was married to the "love of his life" Mavis Ann for 60 years and together they raised eight children in a close knit family

Frank was the loving dad of Linda, Barbra, Colin, Jillian, Lorraine, Jane, Alison and Beverly.

According to Frank's family, despite all of his other accomplishments, Frank was first and foremost a devoted family man.

Beverly Ackerley said: "Frank had a strong sense of integrity and loyalty, he was born to a working class family and he never lost those roots, even as he built a family of successful companies."

Frank set up a range of companies such as: Amalgafix Construction, auto sales, Key Sure Windows and Darlington Timber Warehouse.

She added: "Frank was a lifelong member of Albert Hall and East End Clubs, he cherished his deep and enduring friendships.

"He had a sharp mind and eye that made him an accomplished craftsman in intricate pattern-making, he was also an exceptional sharpshooter during national service and a formidable darts and snooker player.

"He served in the 2nd Battalion of the Green Howards from 1959 to 1961 and was awarded 'best recruit by Sir William Worsley.

"He also shook hands with the King Olav of Norway and was awarded a 16 day trip to norway as the guest of HMS Apollo.

"His trip across the Arctic Circle to The Land of the Midnight Sun is one of his most precious memories.

"We are so proud of our dad. He has left us with enough stories to fill a book, a legacy to strive for and a love that will never fade".

A private family funeral service will be held at Darlington Crematorium on Wednesday October 28.

However, a memorial service will be held in the future when all family and friends can attend to celebrate Frank's life.

Frank requested donations to St Teresa's Hospice, Darlington, and

Beverly added: "We send a special thank you to the staff at St Terisa's Hospice for their care."