World War Two veteran and North East businessman dies after contracting coronavirus

A World War Two veteran has died in hospital in Newcastle after a short illness and contracting coronavirus.

Kenneth Law Sumner was born in Canada, though his family returned to their native North East soon after, where Kenneth attended Durham School.

He joined the RAF in 1941, winning a Distinguished Flying Medal for bravery. He later became part of the famous Dam Busters squadron.

Kenneth married Phyllis, known as Rennie, in 1946. Their daughter Lorelle went on to marry the late businessman and former owner of Newcastle United, Freddy Shepherd.

Kenneth helped to run a farm in North Yorkshire with his parents. Later, he and his son set up a coach company in Gosforth.

Grandson, Kenneth Shepherd said his family "could not havewished for a bigger hero to look up to" than his grandfather.

He was a true gentlemen who never stopped loving his family, his wife of over 60 years, Rennie and, of course, his cat Patchy.

Kenneth Shepherd, grandson

Kenneth's family say he enjoyed watching Newcastle Falcons, Newcastle United and the sports teams at Durham School.

He competed six times in the Great North Run and walked the Great Wall of China at the age of eighty.

Kenneth Shepherd said his whole family wished to thank the staff on wards 19 and 22 at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, as well as Ken's carer Cindi.

He said the loss of his grandfather was a reminder of the need for people to observe lockdown rules, aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.