Tributes have been paid to well known Suffolk folk music stalwart John Howson.

Mr Howson, who died aged 72, was a folk musician and singer, and fieldworker collecting songs and music from around the region and releasing it on his record label, Veteran.

His wife Katie Howson said John was "entertaining company" with "a story for every occasion and a passion for food and drink as well as good music" and "a great sense of humour."

Katie said her husband was well known in pubs around Stowmarket - while many folk performers recall encouragement given by John early in their careers.

In his teens, Mr Howson attended folk clubs in Liverpool before he started singing and became a resident singer and co-founder of Liverpool Folk Club in the Mitre pub.

Mr Howson was born in Liverpool, the only child of Lilian and Arthur Howson - who owned a grocery shop in the Kensington area.

He attended Newsham secondary school and went on to start an engineering apprenticeship but at 21 suffered a severely damaged right hand in an industrial accident.

He retrained as a craft and design teacher and in 1977 met Katie Hayward at the Bothy folk club in Southport. They moved to Suffolk in 1978, later marrying in 1979.

Mr Howson worked at Stowmarket High School until 1987 - leaving to focus on his record label and other projects.

John collected folk songs from around Suffolk and founded the Veteran music label to publish recordings - and wrote Songs Sung in Suffolk (1992) and Many a Good Horseman (1985) about local traditional singers and musicians.

John’s original field recordings are held by the British Library Sound Archive in their World and Traditional Music Collection. The label and website will be maintained by Katie.

He also helped arrange for musicians to visit festivals, including the Sidmouth folk festival - while also performing at community events, concerts and festivals across the UK alongside Katie.

Locally, John was involved in several projects, including Old Hat Music Nights - free, informal evenings of traditional folk songs, music and step dancing - taking place in pubs across mid and high Suffolk.

Mr Howson also founded the Old Hat Concert Party, which was an informal group of multi-generational singers, musicians and step dancers from Suffolk and Norfolk who performed across the region and as far afield as Devon, Gateshead and London’s South Bank.

John also played banjo and guitar and together with wife Katie (melodeon and mouthorgan) they were well known locally in ceilidh bands such as the Suffolk Bell & Horseshoe Band, Old Hat Band, Katie’s Quartet and the Valiant Dance Band.

They were also in demand nationally as the Old Hat Dance Band in the 1980s and 90s.

Mr Howson also had a lifelong passion for the iconic traditional instrument of the East Anglian region, the dulcimer.

He built a website devoted to the history of the instrument, photographing and analysing around 100 antique instruments whilst Katie worked on the historical research.

In 2001 the couple founded the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust, spreading the knowledge of local traditions through community events and projects and educational work - including an annual Traditional Music Day in Stowmarket.

After 16 years at the helm, they retired in 2017, during which time thousands of people had attended, participated and learned about step dancing, playing instruments, singing with local songs.

Millions more had found out about it through TV and radio coverage including features on 'Escape to the Country' and BBC Radio 1,2,3 and 4, as well as BBC Radio Suffolk, with Lesley Dolphin and Mark Murphy being amongst the patrons of the EATMT.

Katie and John both received the highest folk music accolade, the English Folk Dance & Song Society's Gold Badge Award, in 2010.

In The Living Tradition obituary, the writer, Vic Smith said: “Few couples can have achieved as much collectively or individually with strong partner support as this couple has.”