Tributes to George Brown, driver killed in high winds

George Brown
Image caption George Brown was a volunteer driver for the hospice

Tributes have been paid to a volunteer hospice driver killed when a tree fell on to his vehicle in gale force winds.

George Brown, from High Etherley, died instantly when his ambulance crashed on the A688 near Barnard Castle in County Durham during 70mph winds on Monday.

Colleagues at Butterwick Hospice in Bishop Auckland described 68-year-old Mr Brown as "selfless and loyal".

Fellow volunteer Peter Foster, 68, from Crook, suffered non life-threatening injuries in the crash.

Severe weather warnings were in force throughout the north of England on Monday evening as winds from the tail-end of Hurricane Katia battered the region.

There were no patients in the ambulance when it crashed at about 15:00 BST near Dunhouse Quarry, between Staindrop and Barnard Castle.

The ambulance was on its way to Barnard Castle to collect patients from the hospice at Richardson Hospital to take them home.

'Deep shock'

Mr Brown leaves a wife Mary, a son and a daughter and three grandchildren.

Image caption The crash happened on the A688 near Barnard Castle in County Durham

Hospice chief executive Graham Leggatt-Chidgey said: "This is a terrible tragedy for George's family, friends and colleagues.

"We have lost a selfless and loyal member of our team at the Butterwick, and his family has lost a husband, father and grandfather.

"George has been a volunteer driver since 1999 and was greatly respected by everyone who knew him.

"There is a deep sense of shock throughout the hospice team at this awful loss."

Elsewhere in County Durham, more than a dozen cars were crushed when the roof of a building collapsed at the Littleburn Industrial Estate at Langley Moor. No-one was hurt.

Durham Fire and Rescue Service said the roof of a building under construction was thrown on to nearby vehicles in the high winds.

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