A ‘LOVING’ husband and dad was killed on a busy road after a JCB pulled in front of his motorbike.

Craig Foster was knocked off the Kawasaki ZX6R motorcycle he was riding through Simonstone when the digger, which was heading in the opposition direction, turned right into his path.

The 42-year-old, who ran his own business in Hapton and lived in Accrington died at the scene.

His wife Mel yesterday paid tribute to the ‘keen and experienced motorcyclist’.

She said: “Craig lived an interesting and fun-filled life with love and laughter and touched so many hearts along the way. He was a popular guy with a huge personality.

“It is a truly tragic loss of a loving husband and father to our two wonderful children, Cory and Lola.

“He was a keen and experienced motorcyclist and was on his way home to see his family after a day’s work when the crash happened.

“He was a marvellous son, brother, uncle, cousin and friend to many.

Mel said he would also be remembered as a hard-working man.

She said: “After spending some time working on his father’s butcher’s stall in Accrington he turned his hand to the restoration of Volkswagen Beetle cars and campervans.”

Craig’s ex-business partner, David Race, who owns Accrington Beetles and Vans, in Victoria Street, said he would be sadly missed.

He said: “It was a great shock to hear the news. He was a good lad. We did the vans together for a few years. We had a good few laughs.”

A friend who worked at a neighbouring unit said: “Craig was the most chilled-out man I know. He was easy to get on with. I will always remember one Christmas when we were going from pub to pub.

“Then we got to one that said Craig couldn’t go in because he was in his dirty work clothes. So he went to Oxfam and just bought clothes that were far too short for him — because he was a tall guy — to get in.”

Craig’s devastated friends also paid tribute on his Facebook page. Police have appealed for witnesses to the accident, which happened outside Seaways Services and the Time Technology Park at 4.30pm on Sunday.

A spokesman said: “At approximately 4.30pm on Sunday the motorcyclist was travelling along Blackburn Road from the direction of Padiham towards Clayton le Moors when a JCB travelling in the opposite direction turned right into the path of the Kawasaki ZX6R motorcycle.

“He suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene. The road was closed for five hours while an accident investigation was carried out.”

Security guard Abid Pervez witnessed the aftermath of the crash.

He said: “There were people just coming out of a house, and then the ambulance and police came.

“The motorcyclist was on the road, and the police told me somebody had died.”

The driver of the JCB was not thought to have been seriously injured.

Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for road safety charity Brake, said: “Motorcyclists, along with cyclists and pedestrians, are among the most vulnerable road users, and are involved in a huge proportion of serious crashes and casualties on our roads.

“It’s so crucial drivers remain vigilant at all times, and do everything they can to look out for and protect people around them, whether they’re on motorbikes, bicycles or on foot.”

Police appealed for anybody who saw the accident, or the motorcycle or JCB beforehand, to call 101 quoting log number 1052 of March 23.