TRIBUTES have been paid to a Carlisle man who died when his motorbike was involved in a crash.

James McDonald, 41, died on December 11 near his Chipping Norton home in Oxfordshire. His friends rallied to help his parents, Mike and Margaret, cover the cost of transporting James’s body home and paying for his funeral.

James, a rock music fan, had managed Shell petrol garages in Carlisle and Penrith.

After The Cumberland News revealed the McDonalds’ gratitude last week, dozens of people took to social media to pay tribute tribute to James, a former pupil of Newman School and Carlisle College.

Sandra Joan Graves wrote: “RIP James. Was a lovely man. Served me many a time in Shell garage at Carlisle.”

And Kevin Gaughy said: “It was nice to meet you and talk to you. Thinking of the family at this sad time.”

Alice Coulthard said: “RIP James. Thinking of your family and fiancée at this sad time.”

Roxy Murray said: “He was such a funny, down-to-earth lad when I was younger. I remember you.”

And Helen Newstead added: “I had no idea. I remember him from the Roadhouse. He was a lovely guy.”

Despite the efforts of passers-by, and air ambulance staff, he died at the scene.

Mike and Margaret, of Orton Road, Carlisle, have been comforted by the many tributes for their son, who latterly managed the Chipping Norton Shell garage.

James had been due to marry his 26-year-old fiancée Sally Janice Sollis in November.

The McDonalds have been helped by the spontaneous fundraising effort, which was supported by scores of people who recognised that the pensioners would have struggled to pay the huge cost of bringing James’s body home to Carlisle.

His funeral took place at St Bede’s Church with burial at Carlisle Cemetery.

The couple have been told they are facing a bill of about £5,000 for both the funeral and the transport of James’s body.

The superb response to the online fundraiser set up by one of James’s bosses at Shell has meant that Mike - also known as Dermott - and his wife, who has Alzheimer’s disease, now no longer have to consider remortgaging their family home to fund the funeral.

Samira Samira said: “Nobody should worry about burying their child regardless of their age.”

James’s parents have thanked everyone for their kinds words, donations and have thanked the air ambulance staff, and the people who stopped to help their son.

Mike also shared happier memories of James: how his garage was often visited by wealthy celebrities, including Who Wants to be a Millionaire presenter Jeremy Clarkson, and Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

The 26-year-old driver of the car which hit James on the A424 was arrested on suspicion of drug driving and released on bail as the police investigation continues.