Family pays tribute to headteacher who died after being hit by a car in North Shields

The family of a former headteacher who was tragically killed after being knocked off his bicycle by a careless driver say he is “missed every day”.
Michael Thompson, who died after being hit by a car while cycling in North Shields.Michael Thompson, who died after being hit by a car while cycling in North Shields.
Michael Thompson, who died after being hit by a car while cycling in North Shields.

Michael Thompson 65, sustained fatal head injuries after he was hit by the driver of a Skoda Fabia while cycling on Billy Mill Avenue in North Shields on April 8 last year.

The Hexham Priory School headteacher of 23 years sadly died in hospital two days later.

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The driver of the Skoda, Steven Armstrong, 64, pulled out of Delaval Avenue but failed to see cyclist Michael in the road – and collided with him.

Armstrong pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving when he appeared at Newcastle Crown Court in March this year.

And yesterday (Thursday) at the same court he received a suspended sentence and was banned from the roads.

After seeing the man responsible for Michael’s death sentenced, his family paid tribute to the much-loved husband, father, grandfather and friend.

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In a family statement, they said: “Michael had recently retired after a lifetime of work in special education.

"He was head teacher at Hexham Priory School for 23 years and under his guidance and leadership, the school gained three consecutive 'Outstanding' Ofsteds.

“He was well regarded and respected by his colleagues, governors and parents, and was popular with the pupils and students.

“He was also involved in the wider special education community both locally and nationally.

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“In addition to his professional life, Michael was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather and a good friend to many.

“On retirement, he had become a volunteer with Citizens Advice as he wanted to continue to make a contribution to his local community.

“He is remembered and missed every day, not only by his family, but also by the many people whose lives he touched and enhanced".

Sergeant Pinner Rana, of Northumbria Police’s Motor Patrols department, led the investigation into Michael’s death and hopes the tragic incident can act as an important lesson to all road users.

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Sgt Rana said: “Any death on our roads is an absolute tragedy and our thoughts remain with Michael’s family and friends at this tragic time.

“He was somebody who was incredibly popular within his community and no outcome in court could possibly take away the anguish and grief that his family are faced with.

“I would like to thank them for their support and cooperation throughout this sad case, and hope today’s outcome can offer some comfort to them.

“Steven Armstrong’s actions while behind the wheel were careless and have resulted in the most awful of consequences.

"They are irreversible and have ruined more than one life.

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“This is a reminder to everybody of the potential fatal consequences of driving without due care or attention – and I sincerely hope this case acts as a stark reminder to everybody who use our roads.”

Steven Armstrong, of Tudor Avenue, North Shields, was given a six-month sentence suspended for 18 months as well as a three-year road ban.

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