Wiltshire College has paid tribute to popular Trowbridge carpentry teacher Andrew Harding, who died in a microlight plane crash in one of his sons was injured on Good Friday.

Mr Harding, who lived in Trowbridge, was well known at Wiltshire College where he worked for almost 18 years, teaching carpentry at Chippenham campus for the last six years and at Trowbridge campus prior to that.

The father of three, an experienced microlight pilot, was killed in the crash in Devon, while his nine-year-old son Samuel miraculously escaped with just a broken arm and minor cuts and bruises.

Mr Harding, 50, qualified to become a teacher and lecturer at Wiltshire College following a spell at Hawker’s Joinery in Batheaston, passing on his knowledge and carpentry skills to hundreds of students at both Trowbridge and Chippenham.

Karen O’Connell, director of campus at the college in Trowbridge, said: “Andy was a highly valued and well liked member of the team during his time here at the Trowbridge campus.

“We have fond memories of working with him, especially his colleagues in the Construction and Trades departments.”

Mr Harding, who has been described by his family as “one of life’s givers”, grew up in Weston in Bath and at the age of 16 he joined Ernest Ireland Construction as an apprentice carpenter and joiner.

He was later named apprentice of the year and produced work at both St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace.

Denise Lloyd, director of campus at Chippenham, said: “He had a unique sense of humour and a kind supportive manner; always wanting the best for his learners and his team. He will be a huge loss to both staff and students at Wiltshire College.”

His funeral was held at All Saints' Church in Weston. Mr Harding leaves three sons, Christopher, Simon and Sam, his father George, and two brothers Stephen and Paul.

A statement from his family said: “Andy will be greatly missed, and will never be forgotten. His finest gift to us all was his shining example to others.

“He simply enriched the lives of all the people he came into contact with. If all aspired to be like Andy, the world would certainly be a far better place.”