FAMILY, friends and colleagues have paid tribute to popular taxi driver Chris Turnbull who was well-known and well-loved in Royal Wootton Bassett.

Mr Turnbull died on May 26 aged 67 after being admitted to Swindon’s Great Western Hospital three weeks earlier.

Doctors discovered he had cancer of the liver, lungs and intestines, and his death has come as a shock to those who enjoyed working with him and travelling in his taxi.

Mr Turnbull, of The Lawns, Royal Wootton Bassett, lived in the area for over 30 years. Before that he was in the air force and then a chauffeur in London.

He worked for Appy Cars in Royal Wootton Bassett, and Easy’s Taxis in Chippenham, before moving to work for Calne Taxis six years ago.

He leaves behind his wife Mona, who he married in the Philippines four years ago, and three children from a previous marriage Amy, Emma and Mark.

Ian Whitehouse, manager at Calne Taxis, said his employees were like family and Mr Turnbull would be missed by everyone.

Mr Whitehouse said: “He was very popular, he did a regular school run and he was very good with the kids. He used to drive a Citroen Picasso and it was known as the red pillar box on wheels by some customers.

“He was quite a humorous guy, he would come out with some great one-liners sometimes, and he was a great member of the team.

“We’ve had a lot of phone calls and Facebook messages and his customers have given us money towards a wreath. We’re going to get a red taxi wreath with his call sign on it.”

Caroline Johnson, a colleague and friend, knew Mr Turnbull for 11 years and once went on holiday to Weymouth with him and her daughter Roxanne.

She said: “He was a very good friend to me and my daughter.

“He was very private, but he did come out of his shell on a one-to-one basis. He had a good sense of humour. He was very popular and he will be really missed.

“We always had a really good laugh. We were always helping each other out. He used to cut my grass and I used to cook him some dinner because he wouldn’t take any money from me.”

Mr Turnbull’s funeral is on Monday at the Swindon Crematorium at 10am.

His hearse will be followed by a convoy of taxis and Mr Whitehouse hopes to hire Mr Turnbull’s taxi car, a red Skoda Octavia which he drove for the last 12 to 18 months.

Mr Turnbull’s sister Melita Joyce, from Newcastle, said: “He was a lovely brother and a happy person. He seems to be very popular.”