Tributes have been paid to an “inspirational” hero of the sea who has died at the age of 70.

Dedicated lifeboatman Dallas Taylor, who spent 40 years working as a volunteer for the RNLI, lost his short battle with motor neurone disease on Tuesday.

During his time as a crew member on the organisation’s lifeboats in Blyth, Northumberland, Mr Taylor put his own life on the line countless times to help others in troubled waters.

The dad-of-two, who assisted in the rescue of 65 men, was commended several times for his bravery.

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Mr Taylor, of Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, will now be laid to rest at a special service to honour his longstanding commitment to saving lives at sea.

The lifeboat officer’s coffin will be draped with the RNLI’s flag and a white seafaring cap will be placed on top.

His son Mark, 31, also a lifeboatman, described his father as his “hero” and his “rock”.

He added: “He was inspirational. He was a hero to everyone. He was a very generous and caring person.

“He was my best friend. He was my rock in terms of his advice and guidance and I am incredibly proud to be his son.”

Mr Taylor was also a talented artist and had a shop in the Metrocentre, Gateshead, which Mark has since taken over.

The RNLI’s North divisional inspector, Andy Clift, said: “The RNLI couldn’t exist without people like Dallas who spent much of his life trying to help others. His enthusiasm for the lifeboat service has been passed on not just to his son Mark but also to countless others whose lives he touched over the years.”

Mr Taylor also leaves his wife, June, 62, daughter Isobel, 34, and two grandchildren, Alex, six, and Elliot, three. They would like to thank the Macmillan nurses and the staff at the Marie Curie Hospice who helped to care for Mr Taylor during his illness.