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South Tyneside Actor Dale Meeks has died at 47 as tributes pour in for Emmerdale and Byker Grove star.

North East actor Dale Meeks, star of Emmerdale, Byker Grove and The Hunt for Raoul Moat, has died at the age of 47.

Tributes have been pouring in for actor Dale Meeks, after the South Tyneside star’s death at the age of 47.

News of his death was broken by a family member on Facebook on Sunday afternoon, in a post that read: “So unbelievably sad. Brother in Law, mucca, side kick and just the BEST friend a lad could have wished for. RIP Dale Meeks. So much less to laugh about now you’re not there to share it with.”

Dale’s relative added: “Thanks everyone for all the beautiful messages and memories you have been sharing. The support of Dale’s friends has been so incredibly strong over these chaotic, heartbreaking final hours, I can only stand in awe.”

Dale had been a recognisable face on stage and screen for the last three decades; starring alongside Ant and Dec in Byker Grove in the 90s, before being a very familiar face in soapland as Simon Meredith in Emmerdale. Another one of Dale’s memorable TV appearances came as he and his Emmerdale co-star Mark Charnock won Celebrity Stars in their Eyes as the Blues Brothers, with Dale also being the frontman of South Tyneside blues act Shake Your Tail Feather.

And just last week, he took a starring role in ITV’s true crime drama The Hunt for Raoul Moat, with viewers thrilled to see him back on screen.

Away from TV, Dale toured the country in the cast of Chicago and also had a role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies.

Tributes flooded in for Dale on Facebook, with fellow South Tyneside performer Stephen Sullivan left heartbroken by Dale’s passing, as he wrote: “Dale Meeks was an inspiration to me, watching the band when I was younger, watching him perform on stage, seeing him on the telly box and working with him. He was such a talent. He had so much more to give. He was loved and respected more than he knew. The last time I worked with him was an absolute joy.”

Stephen added: “It hasn’t sunk in yet and today has been somewhat of a blur. Dale, you will be dearly missed, you had a heart as big as your talent and a sense of humour and laugh bigger than both!”

TV presenting duo Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have led tributes to Byker Grove co-star Dale Meeks following his death aged 48 and shared

“We are so incredibly sorry to hear the very sad news of Dale’s passing. He was the loveliest of guys, even though he was a Denton ‘Burner’, the the arch nemesis of the Byker ‘Grovers’! A sad loss at such a young age. RIP Dale. Sleep well bonny lad”

The actor played Simon Meredith on ITV soap Emmerdale between 2003 and 2006 after starring in BBC drama Byker Grove as a leader of Denton Burn, the rival youth group to the Byker Grove youth club.

Meeks died from “heart failure” on Saturday evening at South Tyneside hospital in Newcastle, his brother Philip Meeks told PA.

There were also tributes to Dale on Twitter, with one social media user writing: “Gutted to hear the news about

@dalemeeks RIP and another tweeting: “Rest in Peace Dale Meeks. A huge shock xxx”