TRIBUTES have been paid to a “true gentleman” who became a leading figure in the North-East motor industry.

Darlington-born Alan Wynn-Williams, who became Managing Director of the prestigious Fawdington BMW franchise in Newcastle, died aged 74.

Alan, a devoted grandfather of nine, was described by family members as a kind, charming, unassuming man with a dry sense of humour and generosity of spirit. He was also praised as “the consummate businessman”.

Speaking at the funeral, at St Mary The Virgin Church, Ovingham, Northumberland, his godson, John Hunter, also paid poignant tribute to Alan’s wife of 40 years, Maureen, who dedicated herself to caring for him when his health deteriorated over the past three-and-a-half years.

Alan’s father, Albert, was the founder of Llewelyn Wynn-Williams, which made equipment for railway signals. His mother’s maiden name was Eileen Fothergill, whose family owned Pickerings Lifts, at Stockton.

Alan spent his early education at Uplands School in Darlington. As a boy, he had a passion for cars ¬– eagerly collecting Dinky toys – and he chose to enter the motor trade rather than the family business.

He began by selling cars in Crook and rose to become the highly-respected head of Fawdington. He was held in high regard within the motor community and for many years he chaired the regional district council which acted as the liaison between dealers and manufacturers. He won BMW dealer of the year several times, winning a five day trip to New York by Concorde as well as a Caribbean cruise.

His personal motors collection included Porsches, Morgans and performance BMWs as well as a magnificent Lagonda.

Alan was also a keen sportsman and his main passion in recent years was horse racing. Well-known racehorse trainer Michael Dods, based at Denton, near Darlington, was his stepson and he was also stepfather to Michael’s sisters Carole and Sheila.

Alan had 57 winners in all. Royal Flynn, named after his beloved border collie, won seven times and other notable winners included Edinburgh Gold Cup winner Young George and Ayr Silver Cup winner John O’Groates. At the time of his passing, Alan had shares in two horses with Michael Dods - Byron’s Choice and Farhh Away.

His other passion was the Lake District and he was never happier than when walking in the mountains with Maureen and his dog Flynn at his side.

“Alan will be greatly missed and many happy memories will be cherished by all that knew him,” said Mr Hunter.