The sister of a man who died in a collision with a bus have paid tribute to a loving family man with a “heart of gold”.
Darren Lee, 31, died after being struck by a bus in Stanley, County Durham, as he attempted to cross a road on Friday night.
The popular self-employed decorator and factory worker was pronounced dead at the scene and yesterday his family told of his enormous devotion to both his grandmothers, nephews and nieces.
His sister Lindsey Lee, 34, from Consett, County Durham, said: “He loved his grandma and his gran and he was so close to all my children.
“He lived by himself but he never forgot about anyone in the family and would see his grandma Pauline every day.
“He would take her out and do her shopping for her. He had a heart of gold and this is such a tragic accident.”
Police are still appealing for witnesses to the collision, which happened on Rotary Way, Stanley at 11.15pm last Friday.
Mr Lee, of Percy Avenue, Annfield Plain, was hit by a single-deck Go North East bus travelling north as he attempted to cross the dual carriageway.
The driver of the bus, a 58-year-old man from Stanley, and his passengers were uninjured.
It is believed Mr Lee was on the grass verge to the west of the carriageway when he stepped out in an attempt to cross the road.
His parents, Elaine, of Stanley, and Stephen, from Pelton, released a statement through the police, describing their son as “popular, with many friends”.
They said: “He had many friends in the town with whom he enjoyed socialising and he had been on a night out when he was involved in this tragic accident.
“He was a ‘happy-go-lucky’ lad who would do anything to help anybody. He was particularly fond of spending time with his grandma, the rest of his family and his American Bulldog, Metz.”
Mr Lee went to Tanfield Infants School and then Tanfield School before taking on work at BHD windows company in Washington, and then their factory at Peterlee.
He later went on to work for Schmitz Cargobulls UK at Harelaw and Clayton Glass at Tanfield Lea.
Lindsey said: “He loved decorating, too, and did lots of jobs for people. He taught himself but he was really handy.
“The biggest love of his life though was his dog Metz, who he had since she was a puppy.
“He said he wasn’t going to have children and the dog was his best friend.”
The nine-year-old American bulldog passed away on the same day he died and his ashes will be placed on top of Darren’s coffin at his funeral at East Stanley chapel next week.
He is also survived by his younger sister Danielle, 14, his grandmothers Pauline and Jan, uncle Paul and auntie Cath, step-brother Tony and step-sister Claire, Lindsey and her partner Neil McVay’s children Caitlin, Callum, Claire, Casey and Christopher.