Tributes have been paid to Barnstaple ‘legend’ Des Miles who was killed in a road collision on Bonfire Night.

Music teacher Des Miles will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Picture: contributedMusic teacher Des Miles will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Picture: contributed

Mr Miles, 58, was on foot when police believe he was in collision with a tipper lorry in the area of a lay-by on the A361 on the approach to Barnstaple.

In a tribute to the well-known local hairdresser and music teacher, his family said: “Des Miles was the definition of a legend. Every life he touched, no matter how briefly, was always that little bit brighter for knowing him.

“Born in South Molton, he started in his own business in 1982, beginning with his first love – hairdressing. He achieved so much during this time, Devon Champion and South West Champion to name just a couple.

“Throughout his time in hairdressing he accomplished everything he possibly could, meeting some incredible people along the way and becoming well known in Barnstaple.

“He was then able to follow his dreams and turn his passion for the guitar and for music into his career. This was the beginning of the most amazing journey for him and so many other people.

“This has been shown now in the outpouring of tributes and love which have been a true testament to what an inspiring, compassionate, selfless man Des was, who always saw the good in everyone.

“He strongly believed that if you had even the smallest belief in yourself, you could do anything.

“Every person whose life he was a part of made him so very proud and everyone will continue to do that every day and keep the wonderful memory of him alive.”

Mr Miles worked at Newport Primary School and was the musical director of the North Devon Guitar Ensemble under the North Devon Music Centre, a non profit organisation that helps people who are learning to play an instrument to enjoy making music together.

He also co-founded Young Guitarists Fund, in 2010, a charity to help guitarists.

On a second visit to Susa in Italy, Barnstaple’s twin town, the ensemble performed at the Conservatorio de Musica in Turin with students from the Royal Academy of Music and tutor Gary Ryan, one on the world’s leading classical guitarists, one of the highlights of Mr Miles’ career.

A statement on behalf of North Devon Music Centre said: “We don’t really know where to begin to express our shock and sadness at the sudden loss of our group leader, mentor, colleague, role model and friend.

“The reach of Des’ passion for music was far, wide and long and it is impossible to know just how many people he influenced, with whom he shared his knowledge, and how many lives he affected with his warm nature, approachable character and sunny smile.

Des leaves behind him a huge legacy. His loss is devastating not only to his family, friends, his students and all the people that knew him, loved him and worked with him, but also to music itself.”

Police have said following the 5.40pm collision on Monday, November 5, Mr Miles was taken to North Devon District Hospital but was later declared dead.

They are still appealing for witnesses. Any road user who may have dashcam footage that could assist police with the investigation are asked to contact the police by emailing 101@dc.police.uk quoting log 658 for November 5.