Tributes have been paid to a popular businessman who died after collapsing in a South Tyneside restaurant.
Walter Metcalfe had owned Metcalfe’s Home Decor, in Westoe Road, South Shields, for almost 50 years.
He was a lovely gentleman.Gulam Hussain
Mr Metcalfe, 78, died on Wednesday evening, following a meal with his wife Kath at the Asha Balti House, in Ocean Road, South Shields.
Despite the best efforts from staff, they were unable to save Mr Metcalfe, who is believed to have suffered a heart attack.
Gulam Hussain, who owns the restaurant, said: “It’s so very sad what has happened, I have known Walter and his family for many years, they come into the restaurant regularly.
“I also always use his shop to buy my paint. He was a lovely gentleman.
“Walter and his wife had just finished their meal and stood up. Then he had to sit back down again.
“The ambulance car then arrived but it was too late, The ambulance man came back afterwards and thanked us all for our help, but there was nothing we could do.”
Mr Metcalfe was a regular in the Gazette over the years as he battled to help small businesses.
He was unhappy over South Tyneside Homes’ decorating scheme, which saw tenants being given vouchers to only use at DIY giants B&Q.
He spent four years campaigning on the issue.
A North East Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called at 7.53pm with reports that a person was unconscious, we arrived at the scene at 8.01pm.
“The patient was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital.”