A MOTORCYCLIST killed in a collision near the Runcorn Widnes bridge has been hailed ‘a real gentleman’, ‘prolific wordsmith’ and ‘true legend’ by his family and friends.

Martyn Platts, aged 55, worked as a press officer for Halton Council for the past nine years.

His wife, Pam said: "Martyn was one of life′s truly special people. He was a real gentleman with a heart of gold. He loved his life, his family and his friends and was cherished in return. He had a special place in the hearts of so many people and we will miss him."

Martyn, from Chester, died from his injuries after a collision with a wagon on the Runcorn approach to the bridge shortly before 4pm on Tuesday, April 29.

Halton Council leader Clr Rob Polhill said: “Martyn’s untimely death has stunned us all and we are truly saddened. Martyn was a quiet, unassuming gentleman who was always kind, helpful and ready to chat. He will be sorely missed. We are doing all we can to support his wife, Pam, and his colleagues through this difficult time.”

His work colleagues in the communications and marketing team said: “Martyn was a prolific wordsmith with a lovely turn of phrase. He was the one we all went to when searching for the right word to use. He was a stickler for using the correct grammar and punctuation.

“He was the best crossword doer we have ever met and always kept his trusted red dictionary to hand to help him, often complaining if a clue wasn’t 100 per cent accurate.

“Martyn spent a lot of time outdoors pursuing his passion for his bicycles, motorbikes and mountain bikes and spent hours tinkering with them while listening to Radio 4.

“He took time off each year to watch the Tour De France on TV and could recite statistics about the event.

“He loved books, history and maps and was a great fan of the Archers.

“He also loved to cook and would surprise friends with a loaf of bread.

“He had an eclectic taste in music. He loved Tom Waits but also liked Ethiopian music.”

Martyn researched and wrote articles for the media and took photographs to illustrate his work.

He had a wealth of experience in writing, sub-editing and design.

Martyn's brother-in-law, Mark Jones,  said: “Martyn was a fantastic guy. As well as a devoted husband to Pamela, he was a loving brother to Jill and Ian and a darling son to Kate and Ken. He was great fun to his nieces, nephews and in-laws.

“He was a man who knew how to enjoy himself and could be a true live wire on a night out.

As a professional journalist, he knew the inside story on most things and when we were together we were always involved on alternative angles of news and had many somewhat lively political debates.

“He was a great man of music and literature, and had a comprehensive knowledge of his subjects.

“He will be very much missed.”

Friends say he liked nothing better than putting the world to rights over a good pint.

Friends paid tribute on his Facebook page including Philip Ross who said: “One of the brightest men I’ve ever met, a true legend who taught me so much about life.”

Geoff Coote posted: “We lost one of the nicest, smartest guys I ever had the privilege of knowing.”

Martin Kjaer said: “He was an awesome guy.”

Many tributes were left on the World Facebook page including Alison Hewitt who posted: “This lovely man was a daily visitor to a sandwich shop i worked in we always had a chat a truly lovely man my thoughts are with all his family so sad.”

Martyn’s funeral is on Wednesday, May 21, at 11.20am in Chester Crematorium.