Shane Stokes, who has tragically died, was a promising racing car driver
THE Limerick man who died in a motorway car crash in England has been named as Shane Stokes, originally of Lisnagry.
Widespread tributes have been paid to the 29-year-old, who died on Saturday - hours before travelling to catch a plane back home for Christmas. The following morning, he was due to travel to catch a flight back to Shannon for Christmas.
His girlfriend and co-passenger Ashley is understood to be in a serious condition in hospital.
A message sent by UL Bohs confirmed the "terrible news", with his father Gerry a former director of rugby there.
He had planned to travel to Shannon Airport with his wife to welcome their son home late on Christmas Eve.
"It's just such a tragedy, I cannot comprehend it. It's a parent's worst nightmare," said local Fianna Fail councillor Joe Pond, "Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time of year, and for something like this to happen, for two parents expecting their son home is just awful."
The Fianna Fail councillor called on the local community to rally around the Stokes family - whose grandparents had owned a pharmacy at the Dublin Road - at this difficult time.
"He was a lovely young man at the outset of his career," fellow councillor Marian Hurley added.
A former Castletroy College student, Shane had moved to Britain to chase his dream of becoming a motor racing driver.
He worked at the club owned by leading touring car driver Rob Austin at Rockingham in Northamptonshire.
In a Facebook post, the driver said Shane was a "good luck charm" since joining the club.
"He has progressed to become a pivotal and much loved member of our team and a true friend. He was strong and supportive for us in the tough times, something I will never forget and he was a larger than life character in the padlock who was loved by many. He was without question a special guy who had a heart of gold and he will be deeply and sorely missed," Rob wrote.
A separate post added: "He was a gentle giant, and would help anyone, someone you could rely on, and who always gave 100%," the post added.
Shane worked as a parts manager for Legends Racing UK, based in Cranleigh, Surrey.
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