A NELSON man has died in a quad-biking accident in Australia.
Former soldier Scott Thompson, 27, had been travelling and working in Victoria state with his girlfriend, Sami Allott.
Australian police said he was struck by a truck near the town of Bungador yesterday morning.
His family have paid tribute to ‘a joker who loved life’.
Mr Thompson, a former student at Bradley Primary School and Colne Primet High School, worked as an upholsterer before joining the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment in 2010.
Stationed at Weeton Barracks, near Blackpool, he served as a Kingsman in Cyprus before leaving last year to go travelling with Miss Allott, from Burnley.
His mum, Lynne, 54, said he was enjoying travelling with ‘the love of his life’.
Speaking from the family’s home in Sansbury Crescent, Nelson, she said: “He had never a fear. He was born like that.
“He was working on a farm out there and we had been in touch on Facebook all the time.
“Sami rang me at half four this morning (Tuesday), just screaming down the phone. I was gutted. I still can’t believe it.
“Scott wanted us to go over there at Christmas but we couldn’t make it so they promised to come back here next Christmas.
“He was a joker who loved life, loved going out with his mates, drinking, playing football. He was obsessed with the gym.
“He was a daredevil though. He thought he had nine lives.”
His sister Kirsty, 24, added: “He was always smiling, he just had a warm face. He looked after me all the time.”
Mr Thompson and Miss Allott, also 27, had been together since 2011 and left the UK last September.
They visited Dubai, Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia, where they spent two weeks working with orangutans.
Most recently they went to Melbourne where they met up with Mr Thompson’s friend Ryan Monk, from Colne, and found jobs labouring on a farm outside the city.
Police in Colac, Victoria, said the accident happened on a rural road at around 11am yesterday (midnight UK time) (TUES).
In a statement, the police said: “Investigators believe a truck was travelling west on the Colac-Timboon Road around 11am when a quad bike pulled out of a nearby driveway and into its path.
“The truck and the quad bike collided, killing the rider, a man believed to be aged in his 20s.
“The truck driver, a man aged in his 50s, escaped injury.”
Mr Thompson’s dad, Stephen, 55, said the family were unsure when his body would be able to return to the UK.
He said: “The Foreign Office has sent us a bereavement package but we haven’t heard anything from the police in Australia.
“We believe Sami and Ryan are going to formally identify the body today.”
A Foreign Office spokesperson said it was providing consular assistance to the family.
Mrs Thompson said the family had been inundated with messages from Scott’s friends in Burnley and Pendle.
She said: “I won’t believe it until he’s home. I miss him. I don’t know what to say, I really don’t.
“I want him home with me. He was so well-respected locally. I’m not just saying that because I’m his mum; I know he was.”
As well as his sister Kirsty, Mr Thompson is survived by two brothers; Chris, 34, and Justin, 29.