Tributes have been paid to a retired teacher from St Helens who was killed when his car struck a railway bridge.
Howard Thornthwaite, 63, of Sutton, was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene yesterday morning.
Emergency crews were called to Peasley Cross Lane, just a stone’s throw from the Saints stadium, at about 4.30am after his Ford Fiesta struck the railway bridge.
Police believe the high winds that were battering the town at the time are unlikely to have played a part in the tragedy.
Mr Thornthwaite’s wife, Anne, told how her husband had only recently retired from his work as a technician at St Cuthbert’s school earlier this year.
Previously, he worked for many years as a teacher at Cowley International College.
She said: “Howard taught technology for many years in St Helens schools before taking up the post of technician at St Cuthbert’s High School. He retired earlier this year.
“Howard enjoyed supporting Liverpool St Helens at Moss Lane - where he was a fixture on the touchline.”
He was married to Anne for more than 37 years.
A long-time friend of former Saint and Liverpool St Helens chairman Ray French, Mr Thornthwaite was a long-serving committee member at the Moss Lane club.
Mr French said yesterday: “He was a hard-working person in the background at the club and hardly missed a game over the past 20 years, home and away.
“He was smashing bloke and will be missed by all who knew him. This has just come as a massive shock to everyone.”
LSH will pay tribute to Mr Thornthwaite before Saturday’s first team home game against Glossop.
Mr Thornwaite spent 26 years working at Cowley International College.
Headteacher Cameron Sheeron told the St Helens Reporter the retired technology teacher was “delightful company”.
He added: “He was a terrific member of staff and was well-respected and liked by the students and staff.
“He was committed to Cowley within the classroom and without. He had a great sense of humour and many, many students will remember him fondly as the great craftsman that he was.”
Police sealed off Peasley Cross Lane between Sherdley Road and the A58 to enable them to carry out a full investigation into the cause of the crash.
The road closure later caused rush-hour delays in the area, including along the St Helens Linkway.
Anyone with any information about the incident can call Merseyside Police on 101, or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.