TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular motor engineer from Great Bentley who has died, aged 79.

Mike Lingard, who founded Fairfax Motors in Colchester along with his wife Roz, died on February 8.

Having left school, Mike worked for West Lodge Garage as an apprentice before being called up for National Service between 1956 and 1958.

He spent most of his time in Germany with the Royal Army Service Corps Transport.

Mike then returned to West Lodge Garage for a couple of years before moving to Eastern Automobiles in Elmstead Road, Colchester.

The company was soon taken over by Mann Egerton - agents for Jaguar, Land Rover, Triumph.

Mike and his wife Roz started Fairfax Motors in January 1990 in Fairfax Road, Colchester.

After 18 months the company moved to Crescent Garage, Pownall Crescent where they continue to this day.

His son James, following in his father’s footsteps, joined the company when he left school.

In later years Mike carried out MOTs and James ran the workshop.

Despite being almost 80 Mike continued to work a four-and-a-half-day week.

He chose not to retire as he loved to be at the garage. He will be greatly missed by his family, colleagues and many friends.

Staff at Fairfax said: “Mike always had a hands-on approach and made sure everything worked as it should.

“He was a valuable mentor for those who were starting their careers as motor trade technicians.”

Mike’s funeral service will be held on Friday at the Methodist Chapel in Great Bentley.