Tributes have poured in for actor Dale Meeks after the South Tyneside star died aged 47.
A family member shared the news of his death on Facebook on Sunday afternoon, writing in a post: “Very sad. Brother-in-law, mucca, side kick, literally the best friend a kid could want. RIP Dale Meek S. Laugh less now, you can’t share anymore.”
Dale’s relative added: “Thank you for all the lovely messages and memories shared. The support from Dale’s friends during these last chaotic and heartbreaking hours has been so strong that I can only be in awe.”
Dale has been a household name on stage and screen for the past three decades. After starring opposite Ant and Dec in Byker Grove in the ’90s, he became a familiar face on the soap scene as Simon Meredith on Emmerdale. In another memorable TV appearance for Dale, where he and his Emmerdale co-star Mark Charnock gained what they considered to be stardom as The Blues Brothers, Dale was also teamed up with South Tyneside blues actor Shake Your Tail Feather.
Last week, he starred in ITV’s true crime drama Chase Raoul Moat and viewers were delighted to see him back on screen.
Away from television, Dale has toured with cast members in Chicago and also played a role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Is Immortal.
Tributes to Dale flooded Facebook, with fellow South Tynesider Stephen Sullivan heartbroken by his death, writing: “Dale Meeks was my young man. Inspiration for me at the time, to watch bands, watch him perform on stage, watch him play on TV, work with him. He is a genius. He has much more to give. He is more than he knows. He is more loved and respected. I had a great time working with him last time.”
Stephen added: “It’s not here yet, it’s a bit of a blur today. Dale will miss you so much, your heart is as big as your talent, and your sense of humor and laugh are bigger than anyone!”