TRIBUTES have been paid to North East businessman Sir Lawrie Barratt after his death at his Northumberland home.
The 85-year-old and his wife Lady Sheila Barratt made the headlines last year after they were subjected to a terrifying ordeal by three masked raiders who tied up Lady Sheila before making off with £100,000 worth of the couple's jewellery.
Sir Lawrie established Barratt Developments, is today one of the country's largest housebuilders, in 1962 and was Chief Executive and Chairman of Barratt Developments before he was knighted in 1982.
He retired in 1988 but was called back to the firm in 1991 to reverse its fortunes. He retired permanently in 1997.
Sir Lawrie has died after an illness.
Mark Clare, Chief Executive of Barratt Developments said: "Sir Lawrie had the vision to understand how deeply rooted the desire for home ownership is within this country and he then set out to meet that aspiration by designing and building high quality affordable homes.
"Under his leadership the company brought homeownership within reach of many people through innovative support for home buyers and the high profile way it was promoted.
"I believe that it is no exaggeration to say that there are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK today, across every walk of life, that have bought or lived in homes inspired by Sir Lawrie."
North East Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, James Ramsbotham, added: “Sir Lawrie was a well-respected and much admired member of the North East business community and a pioneer in his field. My thoughts are with his family and friends on this very sad day.”