HOW sad the news that Charles Barker has died. Head of the renowned Barkers department store in Northallerton the tributes that have been paid are a testament of the calibre of a man who was universally described as a 'true gentleman'.

Not only was he the head of a major business he was a passionate supporter of the town, spending his time and energey trying to promote it and encourage the wider world to invest and visit.

Lindsey Judd Chair of Northallerton's Business Improvement District described Mr Barker as a visionary. She added: "He was always keen for Northallerton to prosper. He monitored what other towns were doing well. He noted Morpeth’s success so established contact with "More in Morpeth" and arranged a meeting with them at Barkers café for Northallerton businesses. From this meeting came the inspiration for the establishment of Northallerton Business Improvement District to promote the business within Our county town.

"Charles was rightly recognised as a visionary and has left a lasting impression on our town."

It is indeed sad that Mr Barker has been taken from us when there seems to be a real need for people who have passion and vision for the future With so much mayhem around the world at the current time and the misery brought by the pandemic for so many communities, positivity and enthusiasm have been in short supply.

But Spectator feels the most important thing we can take forward is the legacy that Charles Barker leaves, his dedication to his family, his community and obviously his business as well.