TRIBUTES have been paid to the son of the founders of the Boundary Mill retail chain who was killed in a crash in the Yorkshire Dales.

Tom Bannister, 48, died when the Range Rover Vogue he was a passenger in ended up in a field.

A 41-year-old woman, who was driving the vehicle, was arrested and released on bail until August.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash at Carseylands Hill between Airton and Bell Busk to come forward.

Paramedics pronounced Mr Bannister dead at the scene.

He was the youngest of three sons of Michael and Ethney, who founded Boundary Mill retail chain of stores which started in Colne 30 years ago.

The father-of-one was managing director of the Coniston Hotel, Coniston Cold, near Skipton, which he had built up alongside his parents for the last 25 years.

The collision was reported at about 2.35am on Saturday, after the Range Rover, travelling south towards the A65, left the road near his home.

Boundary Mill is run by his brother Richard, who lives in Colne.

The successful retail chain now has stores in Newcastle, Sheffield and Grantham.

The Bannister family, who have lived at the Coniston Estate since the late 1960s, were originally from Trawden.

The family had three weaving mills in the village and later ones in Colne and Bury, which eventually became Boundary Mill.

They supply to major national retailers including Marks & Spencer.

Tom’s father Michael is the half cousin of Roger Bannister, best known for being the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes, in 1954, whose father Ralph lived in Trawden.

Tributes, including bottles of wine, were this week left at the scene and hundreds of people are expected at his funeral, due to take place at St Peter’s Church, Coniston.

His parents said they had been touched by the messages of support, including many posted on social networking sites.

A statement on behalf of his parents said: "Tom gave much time and effort to the local community. He genuinely loved living in this part of the Yorkshire Dales, and was a true champion of rural life.

“At The Coniston Hotel, Tom was a very hands-on managing director, and was often up to serve breakfast to guests in the morning, and dinner to them in the evening. The business enjoyed steady growth over the years, and last year was runner-up in the Yorkshire Tourism White Rose Awards, a personal testament to how far the business had come.”

Tom was educated at Malsis School, Glusburn, before moving on to Stowe School, Buckingham, where he was in the school’s rugby, cricket and swimming teams.

He was known throughout the area as an enthusiastic supporter of traditional country pursuits, a keen shot on the family estate and follower of Point to Point and horse racing, charity fundraiser and lover of life.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, who knew Tom through social gatherings, said: “I have got to know Tom during the past four years. I last saw him about a month ago.

“Tom was a well known and well respected individual. He was quite often the life and soul of social gatherings and a pleasure to know.

“My thoughts and prayers at this time are with his friends and family.”

Tom was northern representative of the Point to Point Association, clerk of the course at Pendle Point to Point and joint master of the Pendle Forest and Craven Hunt covering Barnoldswick and Pendle.

Jo Foster, who was on the committee for Pendle Forest and Craven Hunt and his friend of 23 years, said: “Tom was very enthusiastic about life and put in 110 per cent to anything he turned his hand to.

“He had a magnetic energy which drew people to him, he was one of those very special people that you don’t often come across, generous, warm and with a very kind heart.

“He was a magnificent father and would have moved heaven and earth for Louise.

“There will be a lot of people who have been left with a big void in their lives following his death.”

He was also a great supporter of Sue Ryder Care’s Manorlands Hospice at Oxenhope and as a member of its fundraising committee, helped raise more than £50,000 last year.

The annual fundraising challenge day held at the hotel for the charity, which was due to take place next Thursday, July 4, has now been cancelled.

He leaves his 11-year-old daughter Louise, who was named after his sister who died of breast cancer 19 years ago.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101.