TRIBUTES have been paid to a “caring and popular” man who died after his car caught fire with him inside.
Richard Read, 61, suffered severe burns and inhaled a substantial amount of smoke when his Hyundai Amica burst into flames outside his home in South Crescent Close in Filey on Thursday evening, as reported in Saturday’s Evening News.
A man rushed out of a neighbouring property and risked his life to pull Mr Read from the vehicle.
Mr Read was taken to Scarborough Hospital before being transferred to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield. He died after he suffered a stroke on Sunday.
Family, friends and colleagues yesterday paid tribute to Mr Read, who worked for more than 20 years at the Proudfoot supermarket group as an administrator.
His sister, Susanne Bedford, said: “He was a one-off. He was the life and soul of the party and was very caring.
“He loved to entertain people and he was a clever guy. It was a terrible thing that happened to him and it’s such a shock.
“He was a great person and a good brother who will be missed. I still can’t really take in what’s happened.”
Mr Read was a keen gardener who also enjoyed reading, playing the guitar and singing. He particularly admired Bob Dylan and Che Guevara.
He trained as a maths teacher and his head for numbers made him an indispensable figure at The Proudfoot Group.
The group’s joint managing director, Mark Proudfoot, said: “There have been a lot of tears here over the past few days. He will be sorely missed. Richard was very popular with everybody.
“I interviewed Richard and employed him and he rose through the ranks and managed the office for 20 years.
“He was an invaluable member of the team and made a huge contribution to the business.
“He was a larger than life character and always kept a very good atmosphere. He was eccentric and always had a joke but was serious when he needed to be.
“It’s been a big shock. Everyone is finding it difficult to make sense of what has happened.”
The coroner is now looking into the circumstances of Mr Read’s death and an inquest may be held in coming months.
One theory is that he suffered a small stroke at the wheel of his parked car and dropped his pipe, causing the fire to start.
Firefighters who put out the blaze said they believed the fire had been started by discarded smokers’ material.
Mr Read’s neighbour, David Exley, added: “He was a smashing person. It’s a tragic, tragic thing. He always had a pleasant word for everyone and was very well liked.”