TRIBUTES poured in yesterday for former financial secretary and Swire taipan, Sir John Bremridge, who died in England on Friday. Sir John, 69, reportedly suffered heart failure while at London's Cromwell Hospital for a routine checkup. Friends say he died at 4.30 pm. He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline and four children - Charles, a Swire employee in Sydney; Henry, a local employee of Hongkong Bank; and Elizabeth and Anne, both living in England. A funeral service is planned on Friday in Bradford-on-Avon in western England. A memorial service is also planned for Hong Kong at a later date. Sir John spent his entire career with Swire. As a university graduate, he began as a Swire cadet in Hong Kong in 1949, earning GBP350 a year. He steadily rose through the ranks and took over as chairman of Swire and Sons in 1973. He was appointed to the Legislative Council in 1974 and to the Executive Council in 1977. After retiring from Swire in 1981, he replaced Sir Philip Haddon-Cave as Financial Secretary. Sir John was known for his caustic wit and outspoken nature. ''I am a good second-rate businessman,'' he once said. ''And a good second-rate businessman would be an admirable epitaph for me.'' However, Sir John will likely be remembered as a courageous financier who, as Financial Secretary from 1981 to 1986, steered Hong Kong through some of its worst economic crises. When the Hong Kong currency plunged in the early 1980s, he pushed to link its value to the US dollar. In a statement issued last night, the Governor, Chris Patten, said: ''He will be remembered with gratitude by the community for his wise and firm stewardship during those often difficult years, in particular for his far-sighted decision to link the Hong Kong and US dollars in 1983. Former chief secretary Sir Jack Cater described Sir John as ''a good friend, a great host and a lively man with a wonderful mind. ''He had the right qualities that Hong Kong needed at a very difficult time. He will be remembered for his foresight and determination.'' Present Swire taipan, company chairman Peter Sutch, said: ''All in Swire who knew him were desperately sad to hear of John's death. ''His candour and integrity are particular qualities we all remember and which we need to see emulated today both in business and in government.'' Sir John also served on the University and Polytechnic Grants Committee, the Advisory Committee of the ICAC, the Public Services Commission, the Trade and Industry Advisory Board, the Trade Development Council and the Hong Kong Tourist Association.