THE GRIEVING parents of a man killed in a crash near Burford have thanked well-wishers who helped pay for his funeral.

James McDonald, 41, was fatally injured when the motorbike he was riding was hit by a car on the A424 at the junction leading to Taynton on December 11.

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

James, who managed the Shell petrol garage in Chipping Norton, was due to marry his 26-year-old fiancée Sally Janice Sollis in November.

Witney Gazette:

His elderly parents, Mike McDonald, 70, and wife Margaret, 69, have been hit hard by their loss but have been comforted by the many tributes for their son.

Scores of people have donated around £2,000 after recognising the pensioners would struggle to pay the £5,000 needed to bring James’s body home and pay for the funeral.

The online fundraiser set up by one of James’s bosses at Shell means Mike and his wife, who has Alzheimer’s disease, no longer have to consider remortgaging their family home to fund the funeral.

READ AGAIN: Police announce man dies in motorbike crash 

Mike told The Cumberland News: “I want to say a big thank-you to everybody who has helped us, and to the people who tried to help James on the day of the accident.

"We also want to thank the air ambulance staff, and the people who stopped to help James.

“The police in Oxfordshire and the police family liaison officer in Carlisle have been wonderful; the coroner has been helpful; and everybody has been brilliant with the fundraising.

Witney Gazette:

“We’ve had an estimate for the bill for £4,600; it would have been a struggle to pay. I was going to remortgage the house. But the fundraising means that I won’t have to do that now.

“They put buckets out at the Shell garages down there and one raised £1,200."

He added: "We just wanted James to be brought home. At our age, you plan for your own funeral. You don’t plan for your child’s funeral.”

Mike added there was a 'brilliant turnout' at the funeral.

James's garage was often visited by celebrities, including Who Wants to be a Millionaire presenter Jeremy Clarkson and Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart.

Fiancee Ms Sollis said James, a huge rock music fan, 'made a real impression' in Chipping Norton and revealed she had received an 'unreal' number of cards and flowers.

She added: "We were planning to get married on November 9; we had it all booked.

“Just a week before this happened, we were sent out rings. I’ve had to send them back."

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

Just two days earlier, a crash in almost exactly the same part of the A424 killed two men.

Richard Lock, 39, from Gloucester, died at the scene, while Khayelihle Gwala, 34, from Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, passed away at the John Radcliffe Hospital ten days later.