The death of a South Tyneside dad who spearheaded a trust which campaigns against knife crime has left a community heartbroken.
Mark Wood was a tireless worker with the Glen Corner Trust, and always had a smile and a joke for everyone.
Friends described him as a best friend to many and an enemy to no one, and he was well known for his work helping good causes in South Tyneside.
Following news of his death at the weekend, his best friend Lee Corner paid tribute to the man who helped him through one of the darkest times of his life following the murder of his teenage son Glen in 2006.
He said: “He was my best mate. He was a total gent and will be missed by everyone. I’ve known him since he was 14 and I was 17, through playing football at the West Park.
“When Glen was killed, he was the first person to come to my house to say how sorry he was to hear what had happened.”
Mark, 42, from Whiteleas, South Shields, became a keen runner, and did the Great North Run each year for the Glen Corner Trust.
Each year he would stand side by side with Lee on the starting line. His last race was last weekend.
Lee added: “We were supposed to be going out on the Saturday night. But then I got the call on the day time to say Mark had died.
“I still can’t believe it. We’re all still in shock.
“The Great North Run was his thing and it’s just not going to be the same without him.
“The number of people who knew him was unbelievable and the efforts he made for the Trust was remarkable.”
Mark once owned Whiteleas Taxis and became one of the most trusted drivers in South Tyneside.
He would often help people out who had become stranded after nights out.
It was the Glen Corner Trust which became closest to his heart. The Trust was set up in memory of a teenager who was stabbed to death on his 16th birthday in 2006.
The Trust provides support to families affected by knife crime as well as raises awareness of the dangers of carrying knives to young people.
As well as helping to fundraise, he would also be on hand to support the families who needed the help of the Trust.
He was also instrumental in pulling together a team of junior runners to take part in the junior section of the Great North Run to help boost the Trust’s profile and funds.
Speaking on behalf of the Trust, Pat McDougall said: “We are all just totally devastated. He was such a lovely person, inside and out.
“He is going to be a big miss, not just to the Trust, but to all of us as a friend.
“I’ve known Mark since he was a child, it is so sad.
“He worked so hard for the trust and was with us right from the start and he was a great support to Lee.
“You couldn’t have asked for a better friend. He was a one-off.”