Holiday tragedy: Popular shop owner killed while riding scooter in Thailand

HBT holiday vox -  Bob Leedham and Gemma Durrans
HBT holiday vox - Bob Leedham and Gemma Durrans

A community is in mourning after the tragic death of a well-loved sweet shop owner.

Bob Leedham, who ran Something Sweet, Hebden Bridge, was knocked off his motor scooter and killed in what his family believe was a hit-and-run crash on Sunday.

The incident happened on the Thai island of Koh Samui and Bob’s wife Gemma, who was also on the bike, sustained non-life threatening injuries and is still in hospital. A family member flew out on Tuesday to be with her.

The news has left Bob’s family in shock, with his sister, Carol Jackson, saying they were just 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.”

As a result of the accident, which happened on the final day of the couple’s two-week holiday, Gemma was left with minor head injuries and injuries to her arms and legs. The family does not know the cause of Bob’s death, but know that both Gemma and Bob were wearing helmets at the time of the accident.

On Tuesday, Carol and husband Graham went to Hebden Bridge to see floral tributes left outside Something Sweet in Bridge Gate and talk to shopkeepers, who spoke of their love and admiration for Bob and Gemma.

Mrs Jackson, who thanked the people of Hebden Bridge for their incredible support, 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.”

Tributes have poured in for Bob, 58, of Savile Park, Halifax, who was just a month away from celebrating his first wedding anniversary - having married Gemma, 31, in Borneo last March.

Anna Holmes, 19, from Mytholmroyd, who has worked at Something Sweet for the past five years, said: “No words can describe how much I loved and will continue to love this man.

“Yes my boss and at times grumpy too, but also an amazing wonderful person who changed my life for the better.”

Bob, a Liverpool fanatic and season ticket holder, posted on his Facebook page on Saturday how much he was looking forward to attending Tuesday’s Merseyside derby against Everton. He used to work as a press operative at the Halifax Courier and later ran his own printing business, before taking over Something Sweet.

Active in local football at junior and senior levels, he was a referee and chairman of the Halifax Sunday League.

It’s the second time that tragedy has struck the family in just over a year after Bob’s son Kevin died of a brain tumour in September 2012, aged just 36.

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

Carol added: “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 at this difficult time”.