A FATHER has paid tribute to his ‘loyal’ and ‘kind-hearted’ son who died in a car crash two days before Christmas.

Alan Gilpin, from Kendal, spoke with affection of his loving son Stuart, whose death came as a great shock to family and friends.

Stuart was driving on the A69 when his van was involved in a collision with a Mercedes HGV near East Wharmley Farm, east of Haydon Bridge, on Sunday, December 23, at around 1.45am. Police pronounced him dead at the scene.

The Westmorland Gazette:

Stuart, also known as Gilps or Gypsy – a nickname he was given by his friends after piercing his ear – was a much-loved father, husband, son and brother.

He was born in Kendal in 1983 and grew up on Castle Street and Castle Dale until he was ten years old, and with his little sister, Hayley, the family moved to live on Finley Close, near Queen Katherine School.

Alan described his son as a fun loving young man who surrounded himself with friends and family.

A sports and fitness enthusiast, Stuart was a strong athlete who dominated in the world of football.

Starting at Queen Katherine School he quickly fell in love with sport and began to play for the school and represent the county before playing at Ibis football club as a midfielder for several seasons.The Westmorland Gazette:

Like father like son, you would often find Stuart spending his time playing pool in the pub with his friends.

And following in Alan’s footsteps, Stuart was also a keen dancer and would never shy away from showing off his talent.

Stuart left school at 16 and became an apprentice for Cox and Allen, a building development company, from where he learned the skills to become a plasterer. He also worked at J T Atkinsons builder merchant before becoming self-employed and moving to Spain for a short while.

There he met and fell in love with his future wife Lorna and her two children Ivan and Leo.

In 2008 the family moved from Spain back to the UK and settled down in Whitley Bay, in the North East, where Stuart launched his own business, SG Plastering.​

Before the couple tied the knot in May, 2014, Lorna gave birth to their youngest daughter Tori. The Westmorland Gazette:

Alan remembers his son as someone who was incredibly loyal and kind to those who were close to him, a man with a ‘good engine’, and a young father who cared greatly for his family. He will be missed dearly by many who knew him.