Family of Simon Diffey pay tribute to classic car fan killed in ambulance crash on Bedfordshire A6
The family of a man killed in a crash with an ambulance on a 999 call have paid tribute to him as a "one-off", and said he would "be forever in our hearts".
Simon Diffey, 57, died in a crash just before 6.30pm on Saturday as he drove his classic blue Bugatti on the A6 in Bedfordshire.
A classic car racer and enthusiast, Mr Diffey, from St Albans in Hertfordshire, was described by his family as "a much-loved husband, son, father, brother-in-law and very proud grandfather".
In a statement, they said: “We are so sorry to have to announce that our beloved Simon, everybody’s friend in historic racing paddocks, the ever-friendly, larger-than-life character who knew everyone and was known by everyone, tragically died on Saturday night in a road traffic collision while driving the much-loved little vintage Brescia Bugatti that he campaigned so well.
“Simon was a very talented racer, and a consistent winner in a variety of cars. He lavished meticulous care and preparation on the Bugatti, his Lotus Formula Juniors, the Connaught that he raced for a friend, and his self-built Humbug and Austin 7.
"Then he drove them to the maximum, whether in a VSCC trial or in the highest-profile races at Goodwood and in Europe.
“But more than that, he was a one-off: a hugely generous-spirited man who would help out a fellow-competitor, a friend or a stranger without a second thought."
His business, Merry Printers, was well known as the "go-to supplier when teams, restoration firms, race promoters, clubs and private owners in the car world needed anything printed", they added.
“Without effort, Simon could not help being an entertainer, generating outrageous fun wherever he went.
"With his warm generosity, and his skill and sportsmanship behind the wheel, small wonder that he was one of the best-known and best-loved people in historic motor sport.
"Suddenly all that has come to an abrupt halt, leaving only a gaping hole on the track and in the paddock, and a legion of friends with a burden of regret and sadness. “A much-loved husband, son, father, brother-in-law and very proud grandfather, who cannot be replaced and will be forever in our hearts."
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust said
A spokesperson for East of England Ambulance Service confirmed one of its ambulances had been involved in the crash.
"Sadly, a man died at the scene and our condolences are with his family," they added.
“The incident is being investigated by Bedfordshire Police and we are cooperating with their inquiries.”
Police are still appealing for witnesses to the crash, and anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting Operation Fortress.