A TRAIN has been named in tribute to a Tidworth man killed in a hit and run shortly before Christmas.

In what is believed to be a first, South West Trains have honoured their former train guard Dave Gunson by naming a train after him.

Mr Gunson had worked for the rail company as a guard at Basingstoke for more than 20 years when he was tragically killed in December last year.

The 65-year-old was cycling to work on the A338 near Tidworth on December 22 when he was hit by a car.

He was admitted to Southampton General Hospital where he died from his injuries the following day.

Mr Gunson’’s colleague Mike Bunker requested that a train be named after him to remember a much-loved co-worker.

He said: “The depot was so lost after Dave’s death that I wanted everyone who knew him to be able to remember him.

“Everyone loved Dave so much, I just felt that something had to be done to recognise him.

“I don’t think a train has ever been named after a guard before, and I’m a bit of a railway buff, so it’s the first time I think.”

Family, including Mr Gunson’s wife of 35 years Chrystine, friends and colleagues were all the present at the unveiling of the South West Trains unit bearing the father-of-three’s name at Woking station on July 26.

Mr Gunson had completed one shift on the day of the collision and was returning to work after volunteering to cover a sick colleague.

The grandfather-of-nine had never held a driving licence and was a keen cyclist who cycled to work in Basingstoke, Winchester and Salisbury.

His family worked out that over 30 years he had cycled the equivalent of five times around the world.

Andrew Fairbank, head of on trains services for South West Trains, said: “This was a great tribute to Dave Gunson by his colleagues.

“Dave was a very well-respected member of the commercial guard team and it’s testament to his character that a train has been named after him.”

A 23-year-old man from Tidworth, who failed to stop following the collision, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving after Mr Gunson’s death.