The family of a father-of-two who was killed in a hit-and-run road accident have told of their heartache at losing someone who was “simply the best”.
Gavin Bolam was walking home from a night out with friends when he was struck by a car, which then drove off.
The tragedy happened at 12.15am on Saturday in Victoria Road East, Hebburn, near Burn Terrace and Mill Crescent.
The 56-year-old print worker, who had lived in Hebburn for about 20 years after growing up in the Pelaw area of Gateshead, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Bolam, a keen Newcastle United fan, enjoyed playing the guitar.
His devastated family say they are still trying to come to terms with the news that they will never see Mr Bolam, who had two daughters, again.
I know I speak for everyone when I say how missed you’re going to be.Wendy Donkin
In a statement his relatives said: “We as a family have no idea how to begin to deal with the loss which we now face.
“Gavin was a fabulous man who was loved by so many and whose kindness and compassion touched the lives of so many people.
“Our only comfort at this tragic time comes from the overwhelming support of friends, those who knew him and those touched by these events.”
The statement added: “We are still trying to come to terms with it all. We really can’t thank people enough for all the kind messages we have received. They are really helping us.
“We would ask that we are given time to grieve in private the loss of a man who was ‘simply the best’.”
The family also thanked those who had come forward with information about the tragedy.
They added: “Gavin was so well liked and well-loved. We would also like to thank The Wardley pub, in Bill Quay, for their kind message. He was well known there, so their message was really appreciated.
Last night, the pub, in Brack Terrace, held a minute’s silence ahead of its weekly quiz.
The event was attended regularly by Gavin, who only last week took the winning prize.
Manager, Wendy Donkin said: “We are all dumbstruck. Gavin was one of our regulars and always came to the quiz, which is why we chose to hold the minute’s silence then.
“I know I speak for everyone when I say how missed he’s going to be and how much joy and happiness he brought to so many people.
“The world will not be the same without him. He was a true gentleman.”
A 39-year-old man has ben arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and remained in police custody last night.
Police are also keen to identify a number of pedestrians who were in Station Road, Hebburn, at around 12.25am.
They also want to speak to anyone who saw a silver Mercedes with extensive damage being driven towards or away from Hebburn Riverside Park between 12.15am and 12.30am.
Witnesses are asked to call police on 101 quoting reference 31 090416.