Tributes paid to heroic County Durham coach driver

Tributes have been paid to a heroic County Durham coach driver who is believed to have died trying to stop his malfunctioning vehicle going over a ravine in the Alps.

Maurice Wrightson died when the coach he was driving left the road on Tuesday, smashing into rocks before bursting into flames.

Friends and family left scores of comments on a Facebook tribute page for the driver, who worked for Classic Coaches, based at Annfield Plain.

He is understood to have been a driver since the 1960s, and other tributes came in from bus and coach drivers across the country praising him for his actions.

"Everyone who knew Maurice liked him. Everyone who met him had a Maurice story to tell. And every Maurice story left you smiling...RIP a legend to us all...."

– Steve Wardlaw

Wendy Wrightson described him as "a good man who lost his life far too soon but lost it a hero doing what he did best".

Heath Williams, managing director of TGM, the coach firm's parent company, paid tribute to Mr Wrightson, saying he would be "sadly missed".

"Early indications are that our driver tried to take evasive action and that he alerted passengers.

"We pay tribute to him for his efforts, and also to our relief driver who helped people to leave the vehicle."

– Heath Williams, managing director of TGM,

"We lit all our candles last night and chatted fondly about you.

"You will be a huge miss to many people but I wish you peace and sleep well, you deserve it.

"I am sure your star will be shining brightly for all to see and see it we all will."

– Wendy Wrightson

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Tributes paid to coach driver

Tributes have been paid to a coach driver from the North East who died in a crash in the French Alps. The Classic Coaches vehicle was carrying ski resort staff back to the UK from Alpe d'Huez, with Newcastle being its final destination.