The family of the train conductor who died in the Stonehaven train tragedy tonight said “there will always be a missing piece in our hearts.”
Donald Dinnie, 58, was killed when the 6.38am Scotrail service from Aberdeen to Glasgow derailed near Stonehaven, alongside driver Brett McCullough and an unnamed passenger.
His family said: “As a family we are devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of Donald, a loving and proud dad, son, partner, brother, uncle and friend.
“No words could ever describe how much he will be missed by us all and there will always be a missing piece in our hearts.
“It is so heartwarming to see how many people have fond memories of Donald and I am sure they have plenty of happy and funny stories to tell.
“He was a kind, caring and genuine person who was never found without a smile on his face. We know he will be deeply missed by all.
“Together we thank each and everyone of you for your kind words and condolences but we kindly ask at this time that we have the chance to grieve privately as a family.”
Friends and family took to social media to pay tribute to the “top bloke” and “absolute toff.”
Friends on social media described Donald as “an absolute toff, always happy” while describing his death as “heartbreaking.”
Another called him a “true gent” and “one of our favourite conductors.”
He was well known for being a friendly and welcoming presence on the services he worked on.
Professor Dame Sue Black, of Lancaster University, paid tribute to a gentleman who was “always fun and full of life”.
She said: “For those of us who travelled on the 06.38 to Glasgow every day – I am heart sorry to hear that Donald was a victim of the crash.
“A friend, a gentleman, always fun, full of life and now greatly missed by family, friends, colleagues and passengers”
For those of us who travelled on the 06.38 to Glasgow every day – i am heart sorry to hear that Donald (conductor) was a victim of the crash. A friend, a gentleman, always fun, full of life and now greatly missed by family, friends, colleagues and passengers @ScotRail pic.twitter.com/sxR1LLvaRr
— Professor Dame Sue Black (@ProfSueBlack) August 13, 2020
One tribute online said: ” “RIP Donald. Actually spoken to this guy on many trips to and from Aberdeen to Stoney and he was a lovely man who would talk and laugh with you on the early trains. Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.”
Network Rail boss Andrew Haines said: “My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy, especially the friends and families of the three people who died and those that are injured.”
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “The confirmation that there have been three fatalities in the Stonehaven derailment, including the driver and one of our conductor members, is the most dreadful news and this trade union’s thoughts are with the families, colleagues and friends of those who have lost their lives in this tragedy.”