FAMILY and friends of a popular darts player killed in a motorbike crash have paid tribute to a "happy-go-lucky’’ man.
Adrian Gardner, 43, who lived in a caravan in Altham, was riding his Suzuki 1200cc in heavy rain on Saturday lunchtime when he lost control on a series of bends in Burnley Road, Altham, between the ambulance station and the industrial estate.
Despite help from the emergency services, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Before the accident Mr Gardner, who was affectionately known as Aide, had been staying at his best friend’s house following their regular Friday night visit to the Hope and Anchor pub in Accrington to listen to live bands.
Ady Robinson, 42, of Howard Close, Accrington, said: "I will miss his sense of humour the most. Aide had a great social life but also liked his own time in his caravan.
"He was such a lovely person. Anyone who knew him would tell you that he never said a bad word about anyone. He was my best friend."
In a statement given to the police his family said: "Adrian was a happy-go-lucky kind of person. He loved his heavy rock music and playing darts with his mates.
"He was always into motorbikes from a young age. He will be missed by his friends and family very much. This has been a terrible shock to us all."
Mr Gardner, who worked at System Hygiene on the Altham Industrial Estate, was originally from Anglesey.
He had moved to Accrington with his family 10 years ago and decided to stay when they returned to Wales.
He had represented Hyndburn in darts competitions up and down the country and competed in the Scottish Open.
He played for the Stanley pub in Accrington, whose landlord Phil Miller said: "Aide was a completely unassuming man.
"He kept himself to himself but had hundreds of friends.
"He was the sort of person you didn’t know was in the room until the karaoke started."
Aide leaves a brother Kevin and sister-in-law Carol of Beech Grove, Accrington, and a cousin Jacqui of Manor Place, Church, as well as many close friends and family.
Tonight (Friday) his closest friends are holding a darts knockout competition in his memory at the Pioneer Working Men’s Club in Church to raise money towards his funeral, expected to be held early next week.
Anyone wanting to make a donation can contact Ady on 0782 817 8239.
After the accident the road was closed for several hours in both directions while investigations were carried out.