Tributes to ‘inspirational’ man killed in A11 crash

Jeremy Middleton, who was known as Jez.

Jeremy Middleton, who was known as Jez. - Credit: Submitted

Tributes to 'inspirational ' man killed in crash on A11

The family of a popular outdoor pursuits enthusiast who was killed in a crash on the A11 near Besthorpe have described the 35-year-old as an 'inspirational man' who was 'much admired and trusted by all those whose lives he touched'.

Jeremy Middleton, of Horsham St Faith, near Norwich, died at the scene of the crash after the van he was driving and a horsebox were involved in a collision.

The crash, which happened at about 3.30pm on Sunday, June 30, has devastated the family and friends of Mr Middleton, affectionately known as Jez, who have paid a moving tribute to the former Gresham's School pupil who had 'limitless enthusiasm' for outdoor pursuits.

His wife Steph, who he met in 2001 and married in 2006, said: 'I met Jez when we were both working for Norfolk Youth and Community Services and we had 12 wonderful years together.

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'It is so sad and tragic that his life has been snatched away far too soon, he had so much more he wanted to give, do and see.

'I know and take great comfort from the fact that all those who knew and loved him will be missing him as much as me.

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'Jez was my rock to lean on, he loved his life and enjoyed every minute of every day. I sometimes think he should have been born with flippers as he was happiest when on the water. I will miss him immensely.'

Mr Middleton, who worked for Majestic Wines, spent a lot of his time learning and teaching others 'a myriad of outdoor activities' and ran his own Adventure Safety Training first aid business.

Mrs Middleton said: 'I shared his love of the outdoors, but not some of the more extreme activities that he took part in.

'The numerous clubs and organisations to which he belonged is staggering, he touched the lives and helped many young people in Norfolk.

'He was an extremely inspirational man and would help anyone at the drop of a hat. He coached a lot of young people in canoeing, kayaking, archery, sailing and abseiling, and more, giving them huge encouragement with good humour.'

Born in Hertfordshire, Mr Middleton moved to Norfolk in 1993 with his family, including parents Rex and Lucy and sister Charlotte.

He loved taking part in activities like canoeing, kayaking, sailing, abseiling, hill walking and archery and volunteered in his spare time, taking part in teaching and going on field trips with the Norwich-based Eagle Canoe Club, Norwich, and the 8th Sea Scouts in the city.

Mr Middleton, who was also an active member of the Lowland Search and Rescue Team, started teaching people in outdoor activities in 1998 while at the Waveney Valley Canoe Club, where he was coach.

By the summer of 1999 he went onto work for the Norfolk Youth and Community Service at the Water Activities centre where he taught kayaking and canoeing.

His father Rex, who wanted to thank the emergency services and particularly the police family liaison officers for all their help and 'kindness' during this difficult time, said he was proud of his passion and commitment to outdoor pursuits –and to the very many people he helped.

He said: 'He achieved many and varied qualifications to teach outdoor activities, he particularly enjoyed working with vulnerable young people and those less fortunate than himself helping to build their confidence through participation in outdoor pursuits.'

He added: 'He was much admired and trusted by all those whose lives he touched and will be remembered by many not just for his teaching ability but also for his taste in colourful shirts, some extraordinary hats, infectious laugh and his general enthusiasm for life.

'He will be sorely missed by all his family, friends, colleagues and organisations he worked with.'

A funeral service will take place on Wednesday, July 17 at Earlham Crematorium at 4.30pm, followed by a gathering at Eagle Canoe Club.

All those he knew are welcome to attend.

Family flowers only but donations can be made to the East Anglian Air Ambulance and Eagle Canoe Club c/o John Brown Funeral Services, 102 North Walsham Road NR6 7QQ.

Family would request casual clothing colourful shirts and hats if desired.

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