'A character, a charmer, a gentleman' - Tributes to biker killed in Oz crash
Tributes have been paid to Preston man John McDougall following his death from injuries he received in a motorbike crash in Australia.
Doctors had been battling to save the 30-year-old's life after the accident, which happened in a Perth suburb last weekend, but his family made the 'heartbreaking' decision to switch off his life-support machine yesterday, a family friend has confirmed.
An online fundraising campaign, launched to help John's family with flights and accommodation Down Under, will remain ongoing to help the keen PNE fan's family in their time of need.
John, who had been working as a utility technician in Australia for the past four years, was riding a Honda motorcycle at around 9.45pm last Saturday, local police said.
As he approached a junction, the bike veered into a central island, became airborne, and struck a telegraph pole.
John suffered multiple injuries and was taken to Royal Perth Hospital where he was reported to be in a coma in a critical condition.
His mother Honor, brother Craig, and aunt Alison made the 9,000-mile dash to be at his bedside, flying out last Sunday to be with him.
After news of John's death reached home, his friends took to social media to pay their own emotional tributes.
Katy Graham wrote: "There are no words to even describe what everyone is feeling right now. Hearts are breaking all over the world.
"I feel blessed to say I knew John. A character, a charmer, a gentleman, and a friend. It never mattered how long it was since you saw each other last, John always had the time for anyone and that - along with his top knot - is something I'll always remember him for.
"Your memory will live on forever."
Emma Seed added: "You will never be forgotten. May you be at peace with your loved ones. We are so proud to have known such a great guy. Taken too soon, but never be forgotten."
And Bridget Allen said: "I truly believed in a miracle and a happy ending but it wasn't meant to be. Oh, McDougs, you've broken some hearts.
"You tried your hardest, now it's time for you to be free. It goes without saying what a truly amazing soul you were. One of a kind.
"It is so heart-warming to see the amount of love and support that has been shown across the world these past few days. It sums up how much you meant to so many people.
"Goodbye for now, pal. My heart is with your family at this unthinkable time. Now go and be free. Sleep well, you absolute legend."
Before moving to Australia, John lived with his brother and father, before his death 12 years ago, in Longsands, and was a former pupil of St Theresa's Roman Catholic Primary School, and St Cecilia's High School.
Close friend Mick Casey added: "We still need to raise as much as possible to help the family bring John home. It doesn't matter if you only give £1. It will all add up."
To make a donation to John's family, go online to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mick-casey