TRIBUTES have continued to be paid to a teacher and motorcycle enthusiast who died in a crash.
Neil Hamilton taught a host of subjects at secondary schools across the North East in addition to running his business training fellow bikers.
The 60-year-old, from Offerton Close, South Hylton, died on Wednesday afternoon in a crash which involved a white Mitsubishi pick-up and his 600cc BMW bike.
It happened on the B6301, at its junction with East Hedleyhope, near Tow Law.
The 50-year-old man from Tow Law who was driving the 4x4 was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving. He has been bailed pending further inquires.
He and his 44-year-old woman passenger were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Mr Hamilton, who was married to Christine and dad to Mark, 27, and Christopher, 24, taught IT, business, science and maths at secondary schools, freelanced as a project manager and trainer and dedicated his spare time to a charity.
He put his passion for motorbikes and teaching experience to use by helping others become safer on the roads.
Jim Muter, regional senior manager for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “Neil was a very enthusiastic and experienced motorcyclist.
“He enjoyed passing on his skills and knowledge to a wide variety of all standards of motorcyclists.
“He joined the North East group of RoSPA’s Advanced Drivers and Riders in July 2008.
“He achieved a gold award on his first test and then attended RoSPA’s diploma course that is designed to check a person’s knowledge and ability to teach advanced motorcycling, and Neil achieved his Diploma in 2008.
“He was re-tested in accordance with RoSPA policy after three years and, in September, again passed with flying colours.
“Neil then joined the Cleveland branch and became an advanced tutor, a position of great responsibility in looking after the group’s other tutors.
“He will be sadly missed because of his enthusiasm for motorcycling skills.”
Durham officers investigating the crash have renewed their appeal for help. They are keen to trace a cyclist and the driver of a dark saloon car, possibly similar to a VW Passat. It is believed they were travelling north east on the B6301, Hedley Hill Lane, towards Cornsay and Esh Winning, around the time the crash happened.
Sergeant Neil Fuller, who is leading the investigation into the collision, also urged anyone who saw Mr Hamilton’s motorbike in the minutes leading up to the collision, which occurred shortly before 1pm, to come forward.
He added: “Mr Hamilton’s blue 600cc BMW motorcycle resembled a motor scooter, and if you spotted it on the B6301 heading towards Tow Law please get in touch with us.”
The Mitsubishi was also heading towards Cornsay and Esh Winning.
Mr Hamilton, a graduate of Sunderland and Newcastle universities, was confirmed dead at the scene of the collision by an air ambulance paramedic.
Durham Police’s collision investigators can be called on 375 2159.