'Everyone in deep shock' at Colin Palmer's death
DISBELIEF and sadness has rippled through the communities of St Austell and Par as friends and loved ones of Colin Palmer grieve.
Surrounded by friends is how the popular dad of two spent his final hours as he enjoyed the start of his weekend.
The keen euchre enthusiast and a cherished regular at the Carlyon Arms in St Austell had played a game with pals at the pub before he headed off into town.
Emergency services raced to St Mary's Road shortly after 2am on Saturday after Colin was found unconscious in the road.
Buy one get one free on main course and specials excludes fillet steaks and beef wellingtons
Must book to qualify and present voucher on arrival 01209860332
Contact: 01209 700617
Valid until: Wednesday, December 11 2013
A battle to save him was unsuccessful and Colin, who was a loading driver based at Aggregate Industries Melbur plant, Summercourt, died in hospital.
Initially four men were arrested shortly after the incident on suspicion of murder. Three have since been released without charge and an 18-year-old man has been bailed until November 27 pending further enquiries.
Colin's mother Joan, his daughters Melanie and Maria and sister Sharron are devastated.
His daughters said he was a "loving father" and they needed time alone to grieve.
His mother and sister they had been "overwhelmed" by the kind words and messages from the community.
"We are astonished by how many people knew Colin. It has given us great support.
"However he is sadly missed," they said.
Colin's cheeky smile, zest for life and gentleness made him popular wherever he went.
Friends described him as dependable and someone who brought laughter to any occasion. A former stock car racer at Westworld Raceway at Winnards Perch, near St Columb, he still followed the sport.
He was also a popular figure in St Austell town centre and on a Friday and Saturday night would often join friends at the Hop and Vine or Wetherspoon pubs. Colin also loved going to Butlin's holiday resort and he and friends had been planning their next visit the night before his death.
More than 2,000 people had visited a page set up in his memory on social networking site Facebook within 24 hours of it being set up and hundreds have left messages of grief and sympathy.
By Saturday afternoon his friends were learning of the tragedy. Colin's long-term friends Malcolm Hildersley and Keith Rundle, also drink at the Carlyon Arms.
Mr Hildersley, 58, said: "I loved him to bits. Everyone is in deep shock and I can't believe a great friend has gone like that. Colin was a lovely man and I am gutted. He loaded the trains and lorries. I remember him telling me how he'd loaded the gravel used for the concrete at the Olympic Stadium."
Mr Rundle, 64, was with Colin hours before his death and described him as not having "an enemy in the world. He would never say a bad word about anyone.
"Colin would never let you down; if he said he would be there he would be there."
Floral tributes have been growing daily at the scene of the incident as people who knew him visit to pay their respects and mourn their loss.
John Crocker, 57, another close friend who had been out with him hours before his death, said: "He was a special mate, my drinking partner on a Friday night and a true friend. It will be an emptier place without him.
John's wife Sandra, 45, added: "He was a loveable rogue but always a true gentleman. He touched the hearts of so many people and had such an impact on their lives."
Nigel Crann added: "No-one had a bad word to say about Colin. You could not have met a nicer bloke and that's why it has hit everybody so hard."
A collection for a wreath has already begun in the pub and locals are considering placing a plaque in the pub to remember him, as well as dedicating a trophy to him.