THE tragic victim of a horror crash on the M8 has been described as “one of life’s true gentlemen”.
Wayne Strickland was killed after his Peugeot 206 burst into flames following the four-vehicle collision near junction 3 on the motorway during rush hour on Monday morning.
The 49-year-old had been driving from his home in Inverkeithing, Fife, to work at West Lothian Council, where he was a much-respected business advisor.
The popular father-of-three had worked closely with business people to give them support and advice for start-ups.
Originally from Bristol, Mr Strickland had studied management at Heriot Watt University and had also worked as a start-up advisor for Business Gateway in the Lothians, before moving to the council.
His death has sent shockwaves through the district’s close-knit business community, with colleagues and business owners he has helped over the years paying tribute.
Those that had the pleasure to work with him feel very fortunate to have known himWest Lothian Council spokesman
A spokesman for West Lothian Council said: “Wayne was a very popular and respected colleague and those that worked with him have been left devastated by this tragic news.
“Wayne had worked with West Lothian Council for a number of years and those that had the pleasure to work with him feel very fortunate to have known him as a colleague and friend.
“As a business advisor Wayne worked closely with the local community to help people set up their own companies and his loss will be felt by the wider business community in West Lothian. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with Wayne’s family and friends at this very sad time.”
Others took to social media to express their shock at grandfather-of-one Mr Strickland’s death.
Mark Wood, who runs Livingston Cleaning Services, described him as an “amazing person”. He added: “He helped get my business off the ground four years ago and was always available to help whenever needed. Just a complete loss of words right now.”
And John Jones said: “Top guy. He was my business advisor at Business Gateway in Livingston a few years back.
“Such a shame, really was a great guy.”
In a statement, Mr Strickland’s family described him as a “much loved and respected father, husband, son and brother”.
His heartbroken relatives added: “He was on his way to work from his home in Inverkeithing when the accident happened. Wayne was a devoted husband to Bernadette and much adored father. He was one of life’s true gentlemen and he will be sadly missed.”
Police said investigations were at too early a stage to comment on the cause of the crash, and re-issued an appeal for witnesses to come forward.
The occupants of the other vehicles – a Kia Rio, Mercedes van and an articulated HGV – were all taken to hospital with minor injuries while the road was closed for eight hours.