TOUCHING tributes have been paid to Britain’s last World War Two dispatch rider.

Alan Rothwell Johnson, who died just weeks before he turned 100, has been described as a wonderful man who packed so much into his life.

Mr Johnson, from Lorton near Cockermouth, became a dispatch rider because of his love for motorbikes. He served with the Royal Corps of Signals in Egypt during the conflict, delivering vital messages to soldiers on the front line.

To mark his 99th birthday he released a book reliving his war adventures.

Mr Johnson, who died at the West Cumberland Hospital last Tuesday, remained a keen motorcyclist until he suffered a stroke several years ago.

Close friend Geoff Brazendale said: “He came to terms with it, but for a man who was so active it was a cruel blow.

“What a wonderful man he was, he packed so much into his life.

“He always claimed he had ridden every army motorbike that existed. When he got demobbed he set up a successful artistic ad agency and he was a superb illustrator and a great photographer.

“He was also a member of the Lakeland Section of the Vintage Motorcycle Club.

“Alan was such a nice man and was so active. He had also been a mountaineer, climbed the Matterhorn at one point and was also a potholer.

“There was nothing he hadn’t done in the outdoor world.

“I’ve known him for 30 years we used to have really long chats. He was such a good friend of mine.”

Speaking to the News & Star when his book was released last year, Mr Johnson said: “I’ve had what turned out to be a very interesting life.

“I’ve always been an adventurer and done hard things; if it wasn’t hard and didn’t hurt, I didn’t want to know.

“A lot of people say they’re going to write their life story and they never do it but I’m quite a determined character.”

Ian Fisher, chair of the Cumberland and Westmorland Royal British Legion said Mr Johnson’s death was a great loss.

“We should never forget what those who fought in the war sacrificed for us.

“We always say remember our veterans on November 11, but we should remember these people all of the time.”

Mr Johnson is survived by wife Kathy and an extended family.

His funeral details have not yet been confirmed.