THE FAMILY of a retired teacher killed in a crash on Friday night have paid tribute to him.
Gerald Albert Webb, 82, of the Freshwater area, was killed after a collision
involving a white Ford Courier van in Copse Lane, Freshwater, at around 7pm.
In a statement released by the police, Mr Webb's family said: "Family and friends were obviously devastated to learn that Gerry had died under such circumstances.
"Gerry served for many years in the RAF and subsequently as a primary school teacher until his retirement at the age of 70. He felt he had served his country and was proud of that.
"On retirement he moved to his beloved Isle of Wight, where he spent many peaceful years playing badminton and bowls.
"The last few years of his life were blighted by dementia, which progressed to such a state that he unfortunately required full time nursing care.
"We would like to pass on our gratitude and thanks to the police, fire service and ambulance staff who attended this tragic incident. Our thoughts are also with the driver involved during this difficult time."
The 75-year-old male driver of the Ford Courier van, also of Freshwater, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving and police have appealed for witnesses. He has been bailed until January 10, 2013.
Sergeant Rob Heard of Hampshire Constabulary’s Road Death Investigation Team said: "We are appealing to anyone who saw an elderly man walking in or near Copse Lane shortly before 7pm on Friday.
"Any information about this man’s movements prior to the collision is important. I am equally keen to be contacted by witnesses who saw a white Ford Courier van being driven in the Freshwater area around the same time.
"We have been making enquiries into reports of other motorists using Copse Lane at the time of the crash.
"I would urge these people to come forward and tell us what they saw. No other vehicles are believed to have been involved in the actual collision, but other motorists could prove to be crucial witnesses to the circumstances surrounding this death."
Witnesses or anyone with information should contact Hampshire Constabulary’s Road Death Investigation Team at Eastleigh Police Station by phoning 101 and quoting Operation Milldale. Mini-com users can phone 01962 875000.
Information can be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.