A LONG-SERVING beat bobby and dedicated artist whose work caught the eye of an American president has died.
Great-grandad Ray Storey became a familiar face across Sunderland after spending 25 years as a police officer based at Gill Bridge station.
The 83-year-old’s detailed sketches of Wearside landmarks, including Penshaw Monument, Fulwell Mill and the Town Hall, have proved popular across the globe.
When former American president Jimmy Carter visited the city in 1977, one of Ray’s sketches of Washington Old Hall caught his eye and he took it back to the White House.
When he was voted out of office, officials contacted Ray to see if he would draw another one to replace the picture Mr Carter had taken with him.
Ray’s daughter Miriam, 55, said: “Many of his paintings have been seen across the world, including at the White House, and many can be seen in pubs across the city.
“He absolutely loved drawing and had no training. He just did it and seemed to blossom. He liked drawing Sunderland because he was born and bred here.”
Ray, who was born in Southwick but moved to Fulwell, died in hospital on June 13, three years after the death of his devoted wife Marjorie.
“He was absolutely devoted to her,” Miriam said. “Ever since then, he was never really the same.”
Miriam described her dad as full of character, craic and kindness.
She said: “He was a very proud, strong man and he loved a craic on. He absolutely loved Sunderland Football Club and he had a season ticket for years.
“He loved socialising a lot and was often down at The Wavendon. He was well known in Sunderland and we’ll miss him.”
Ray leaves behind Miriam and her brother Graham, grandson Adam and great-grandson Kyle, seven.
A service took place at Sunderland Crematorium yesterday.