TRIBUTES have been paid to a former mayor and well-known businessman who has died at the age of 87.

Jim Ruck, from Darlington, who dedicated many years to serving as a councillor in the town, died on January 4.

The father-of-two, who had five grandchildren, was a popular and well-known business, who ran his company from the Drovers in Cockerton.

Simon Ruck, his son, said: “He was known for being a very social person. He knew a lot of people from his various walks of life and he was a good family man.

“He was an outgoing and determined and strongly forthright.

“We’ve been flooded with tributes.

He added: “He certainly made an impact on this town. He made his mark on Darlington.”

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Originally from Hayes, in London, he started his career in the foundry industry.

While on a trip to visit The Darlington Forge, he met his wife Margaret and the couple married in 1960.

They started their married life in Kent, before moving to the midlands and then to Sydney, Australia for two years.

Upon returning to England in 1971, they settled in Margaret’s home town of Darlington.

He set up Jim Ruck Limited in 1978, selling industrial cleaning equipment, and ran it until the late 90s.

A determined salesman, he became very well known in Darlington and in the 1990s decided to join the council to contribute to civic life.

He became a Conservative councillor for Park West in 1994 and eventually became mayor of Darlington in 2009.

Simon, who now runs the business, which is now called Ruck Engineering Limited, added: “Becoming mayor was the culmination of everything.

"That was a real yard stick for where he had come in life and he was very proud of that.”

He was also passionate about vintage motorbikes and was active in the Vintage Motor Cycle Club.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Mr Ruck had Parkinson’s for the last five years of his life and was looked after by Margaret.

The couple have two children, Simon and Stephanie, and five grandchildren, Emily, Lucy and Jackson, Bella and Sam.

His funeral takes place at All Saints’ Church, in Ravensdale Road, at 1.30pm on Monday, January 24.

Donations, if desired may be made for Parkinson's UK via

Darlington Council leader Heather Scott said: "I've known Jim for a long time. We served together as councillors and he was a friend as well as a colleague.

"He was a good friend and good councillor and Conservative.

"He did a lot for the the people in his ward. He will be greatly missed.

"He was well-respected by everyone. It's very sad and I will miss him."