Tragedy strikes in paradise island

Happy couple: Bob and Gemma Leedham in their Hebden Bridge shop
Happy couple: Bob and Gemma Leedham in their Hebden Bridge shop
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Hundreds have been rocked by the tragic death of a well known character in a suspected hit-and-run on the last day of his holiday.

Bob Leedham, 58, of Savile Park, Halifax, was riding a motor scooter on the Thai island of Koh Samui when tragedy struck last Sunday.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui

His wife, Gemma, 31, who was also on the bike, sustained non-life threatening injuries and was hospitalised.

Mr Leedham was chairman of the Halifax Sunday Football League and was a referee for many years.

He used to work as a press operative at the Halifax Courier before running his own printing business in Sowerby Bridge.

His next business was the Hebden Bridge sweetshop Something Sweet which he ran with his wife and friends left flowers outside the closed shop this week.

A family member has flown out to Thailand to comfort Gemma.

Bob’s sister, Carol Jackson, said the family was thankful Gemma was alive.

Mrs Jackson said: “I believe it was a hit-and-run. The next thing Gemma knew was coming-to in hospital and finding out that she had lost Bob. The whole family is devastated and crushed.”

The accident happened on the last day of the couple’s two-week holiday and Gemma is being treated for minor head injuries and injuries to her arms and legs.

The family does not know the cause of Bob’s death, but know that Gemma and Bob were wearing helmets.

Mrs Jackson thanked people for their incredible support, and said: “Bob was the life and soul of the party and he enjoyed life to the full.

“He loved Gemma dearly and she was his rock. They were best friends.

“When you rang them at home there would be laughter, when you rang them at the shop there would be laughter.

“Nothing can bring Bob back, but the tributes that have come out have given us a lot of comfort.”

Mr and Mrs Leedham were looking forward to celebrating their first wedding anniversary having been married in Borneo last March.

Mr Leedham was also known for his love of Liverpool Football Club. He had posted on his Facebook page on Saturday how much he was looking forward to attending Tuesday’s Merseyside derby against Everton.

Halifax Sunday League president Malcolm Barrett said the community had lost “a very popular fellow.”

“He was a referee for 20 years or more and I used to have a chat with him at his printing place in Sowerby Bridge,” said Mr Barrett.

“He said he wouldn’t mind getting involved in local football and I invited him to a meeting and his interest took off.”

Mr Leedham served as the referees appointment secretary and as an assessor; a Sunday League management committee member; vice-president and becamem chairman last year after Mr Barrett stood down.

Mr Leedham was also connected to the Halifax FA and West Riding County FA.

“He will be missed, a nice fellow who always had time for everybody with a chat and a joke - he was known for his lousy jokes,” said Mr Barrett.

His passing is the second tragedy to strike the family in just over a year after after Mr Leedham’s son Kevin died of a brain tumour in September 2012, aged just 36.

Mr Leedham leaves behind a sister, four brothers - David, Steven, Ian and Les – son Rob and granddaughter Grace.

Mrs Jackson said: “What we have got to concentrate on now is what Bob would have wanted and that’s looking after Gemma when she gets back, as well as Bob’s son Rob and granddaughter Grace.

“That’s got to be our main focus now.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said it was providing consular assistance to the families.