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TRIBUTES have been paid to prominent North East businessman Sir Lawrie Barratt after his death, aged 85. He died at home after a long illness.
Sir Lawrie, who founded housebuilder Barratt Developments, and his wife Lady Sheila Barratt were thought to still be recovering after they were subjected to a terrifying ordeal by three masked raiders two years ago.
The elderly couple were tied up and gagged at their Corbridge home before the men made off with PS100,000 worth of jewellery.
The well-respected businessman established Barratt Developments, today one of the country's largest housebuilders worth more than PS2bn, in 1962 and was chief executive and chairman for around 35 years.
Business leaders have described him as a pioneer whose story will be an inspiration to others.
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 home ownership within reach of many people, through innovative support for homebuyers 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, who have bought or lived in homes inspired by Sir Lawrie."
North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive James Ramsbotham said: "Sir Lawrie was a wellrespected and much-admired member of the North East business …