CHESTERFIELD: Tributes paid to tragic sailor, 22

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The heartbroken family of a young sailor who died in a motorbike smash while on leave have honoured “a wonderful young man who served his country.”

Royal Navy submariner, Christopher Payne, 22, was killed instantly in the crash on the B6179 Derby Road near Coxbench on September 5, after failing to negotiate a bend near the A38 bridge.

Christopher, a marine engineering technician, had just returned home from his post on the HMS Triumph in Plymouth that day.

Fighting back tears, his dad Dean Payne, said: “I am so proud of my son and what he achieved in life. I am proud of the job that his mother Debbie and I did in raising him to turn out to be such a wonderful young man.

“He served his country and would have gone on to serve his country many times more.”

Hundreds of mourners descended on Brimington Crematorium last Thursday to pay tributes to Christopher – known as Max to his fellow sailors – as he was honoured with a full military funeral.

Amongst them were more than 60 members of the Royal Navy who were able to attend en masse because of a fault with the submarine that delayed their launch.

His uncle, Keith Lee, said: “He was very well thought of. They are a close knit family on the HMS Triumph. They have lost one of their own just as much as us.”

He described his nephew – a lifelong Spireite – as a typical teenager with a cheeky grin, who always looked out for his younger sister, Danielle, 19.

“He was very protective of her” said Keith. “She is absolutely devastated. She has lost her right arm.”

Dean added: “From the moment she was born he looked after her and he was still looking after her until he died.”

Christopher, who was born in Spital and divided his time between Brimington and Holbrook while on leave, will be remembered by a signed Chesterfield FC shirt donated by the club, to hang in the HMS Triumph.

Chesterfield FC Community Trust director John Croot: “It was an honour to hand over a signed shirt to Christopher Payne’s colleagues from HMS Triumph. It is nice to think that the shirt, once it is framed and hung up on a wall aboard the submarine, will provide them with a permanent reminder of Christopher.”

Chris Brownley, fellow submariner, said: “A lot of the lads are finding it quite hard without him, and we are all finding it hard to concentrate.

“He always had a smile on his face, always a cheeky grin. He was one of the nicest people I have ever met. He would always help out.”