Tributes paid to crash driver

Emergency services at the scene in Longmeanygate, Leyland, on Friday
Emergency services at the scene in Longmeanygate, Leyland, on Friday
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Friends of a well-known farmer have spoken of their shock over his death, following a police chase through Leyland.

Geoffrey Gill, 55, of Lostock Bridge Farm, Ulnes Walton Road, Ulnes Walton, died after his black Mitsubishi L200 Animal crashed into the gable end of a house in Longmeanygate, Leyland, on Friday morning.

Mr Gill was well known in the local community, having briefly served as a parish councillor three years ago.

Current Ulnes Walton parish councillor John Dalton said: “I knew Geoff from the time he was a member of the local parish council.

“He was apolitical, but he was very passionate. He had a strong belief in the local area and he was a strong family man.

“It’s absolutely tragic news, what has happened, and my full sympathies go to his family.”

It is believed that Mr Gill had recently given up farming, and had a wife called Julie and a family.

Bob Hindle, a director of Ken Lingford Garden Care, based in Ulnes Walton Road, said he had known of Mr Gill for over 20 years.

He said: “He was known to all of us here, and over the time we did a few jobs for him.

“He was a farmer and a tree surgeon and pretty much part of the furniture of the local farming community really.

“It’s a very sad thing that’s happened, and it’s come as a real shock.”

Police say officers tried to stop the car, driven by Mr Gill, at around 12.20am on Friday, over concerns about the way it was being driven.

Mr Gill failed to stop and lost control of the car on a bend on Longmeanygate.

The car then hit the house, becoming embedded in the lounge area.

Owners of the property, Stuart Duffield, 42, and Lindsay Cavanagh, 44, and their four children were asleep and were not injured.

- To read the Guardian’s interview with the owner of the house, see this week’s new-look Leyland Guardian.