Tributes paid to Ufton Nervet crash victim

Published: 25 May 2012 09:30

TRIBUTES have been paid to a teacher killed when his motor scooter collided with a train at a notorious level crossing.

David Montague

David Montague died instantly on Tuesday when his silver Piaggio scooter was in collision with a First Great Western express at the half-barrier crossing in the village of Ufton Nervet.

Nobody on the 12.18pm Paddington-Taunton train was injured in the impact which scattered the wreckage of Mr Montague's machine over a wide area at 1.10pm. Train services between Reading, Newbury and the West Country were disrupted until 7.30pm.

The 45-year-old, lived in a semi-detached house in Welford Road, Woodley, with his wife and two children, aged nine and 11.

He taught French and Spanish at Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning for six years, and headteacher Michael Windsor said: "David was an enormous enthusiast for modern languages and loved sharing his expertise and passion with his pupils. He led numerous trips to Madrid and Barcelona. He was also very committed to environmental issues and led the School's Eco Schools Committee. David was a tutor in the sixth form and helped advise sixth formers as they considered university and careers options.

"David will be warmly remembered by the whole community here at Blue Coat and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Mr Montague had held a similar post at Reading Girls School in Whitley between September 1999 and April 2006.

Vivienne Angus, headteacher at Reading Girls School, added: "David worked hard and he was liked and respected by both pupils and staff. He will be greatly missed and our sympathies are with his family."

Officers are not treating his death as suspicious, but investigations are continuing.

Leisure company boss Nick Harborne, director of Canal and Tipi Experience, who was mending a boat on the nearby Kennet and Avon Canal, said: "The canal runs along the track and we suddenly heard this big bang and a lot of screeching and braking.

"We thought the train had derailed because it looked that way, although it remained upright. We could see people hanging out of the windows to see what was going on and then we heard the sirens.

"It wasn't until later we found out that someone had died. It's very sad."

In November 2004, seven people were killed when a train collided with a car which had been driven onto the Ufton Nervet crossing by Reading chef Brian Drysdale, 48.

There was also an incident in September last year, when rail staff did not get a message to lower the barriers at the Ufton Nervet level crossing and a car narrowly avoided colliding with the oncoming train.

Mr Harborne added: "We don't know the circumstances, but it must be time now to install full barriers at the crossing to avoid things like this happening."

Did you know Mr Montague? Send your tributes to lroutledge@berksmedia.co.uk

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