Tributes paid to Portsmouth man, 82, who died after being hit by car

INVESTIGATION Laburnam Grove was cordoned off
INVESTIGATION Laburnam Grove was cordoned off
Photo: Darrel Newman

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TRIBUTES have been paid to an 82-year-old man who died after being hit by a car.

Grieving relatives have told how Reverend James Diaper was well known for his generosity and sense of humour.

In a statement released through Hampshire Constabulary, they wrote: ‘He served in the parishes of St Saviour, Stamshaw, St James’, Milton and St Alban, Copnor.

‘He was well known for his generosity with time and money and for his – sometimes dreadful – sense of humour.

‘His last weekend was an extremely happy one serving God at Walsingham.

‘He will be much missed in this diocese and beyond.’

Mr Diaper, who lived in Wallington Road, Copnor, Portsmouth, joined the navy at 15 and served on HMS Verulam, HMS Sheffield and HMS Carysfort among other ships.

He later became a gunnery instructor at HMS Excellent.

On his retirement from the navy he became a civil servant and trained for the ministry. He was ordained in 1985.

London-born Mr Diaper – who was also known as Father Bob – was crossing Laburnum Grove in North End, Portsmouth, when he was hit by a blue Vauxhall Vectra close to the junction with Copnor Road.

He was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, where he later died.

The driver and the passenger travelling in the Vauxhall Vectra, who are both 41-year-old men from Portsmouth, were unhurt.

Laburnum Grove in North End was shut for about four hours while police examined the scene.

Police are now appealing for anyone with information about the accident, which happened shortly before 3.30pm on July 24, to come forward.

Officers are particularly keen to hear from the driver of a car who flashed their lights at the Vauxhall Vectra involved in the crash, to let it out of the Copnor Road junction.

PC David Blake from Fratton Roads Policing Unit is the senior investigating officer.

He said: ‘I would ask the driver who flashed their headlights at the Vectra, to get in touch as he or she may have seen something which may assist the investigation.

‘This was a very serious incident in which a man lost his life so it’s very important we have a full picture of what happened.

‘Anyone who was at the scene at the time or who may have seen something – however insignificant it may seem – should contact me on 101 as soon as possible.’

Contact Fratton Roads Policing Unit quoting Operation Iola.

Information can also be left anonymously by calling the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555111.