Tributes have been paid to a much-loved dad, grandad and great grandad who died after a collision in Charmouth.

Emergency services were called to a collision involving a pedestrian and a car at the junction of The Street and Lower Sea Lane shortly after 7pm on Thursday, January 23. It was reported that the driver of the car failed to stop at the scene.

Sadly the pedestrian, 90-year-old Peter Bide, died at the scene. 

His family say they will all ‘greatly miss his reassuring and loving presence.’

Peter – who survived the Blitz  - had a ‘wry sense of humour which never deserted him’ and ‘would make light of the indignities and frailty of old age,’ said son Tim.

“He was unswervingly optimistic and never complained about setbacks he encountered – instead, he just found a way around each problem that life threw at him and doggedly carried on.

“He was determined to remain living at home and remained fully independent to the end.”

Born in London in 1929, Peter spent his early childhood breathing the smoke and soot of Battersea Power Station and Clapham Junction before his mother initiated a move to the healthier suburbs of Raynes Park where they lived throughout the Blitz.

He would later tell his children his memories of crouching in the dark of the understairs cupboard with his mum while listening to the drone of bombers overhead, the whistle and explosion of falling bombs and the crash of anti-aircraft guns. 

In the mornings, he and his friends used to collect the shiny shrapnel fragments from detonated shells as they walked to school. One day, he got phosphorous from an incendiary shell fragment under his fingernail which ate into his finger, causing terrible pain and requiring urgent surgery to remove his fingertip. 

At an early age he joined the scouts and developed a lifelong interest in camping and all-things outdoors.

Peter met Katharine while they were both still at school and both realised that they had found ‘the one’. They got married in 1952 after he had completed his National Service and they had both finished teacher training.  They were happily married for 54 years until Katharine’s death in 2006.

Through his long teaching career, Peter specialised in geography, geology and PE and his job took him to Canada.

“We lived in a house in the woods which was a short walk from the rocky shoreline of a sea inlet,” said Tim. Included in the rent was use of a rowing boat which Peter used to spear fish and snare crabs in the clear waters of the inlet.  The only downside was that the pupils of the school didn’t want to learn geography, they just wanted to be out logging like their fathers and uncles. This made teaching a thankless and somewhat futile task and Peter realised his future lay back in England after all.”

The family moved to Charmouth in the 60s and Peter spent most of his teaching career at Monkton Wyld School.

“He committed himself to teaching to his own high standards and he earned the respect and lasting affection of many pupils, some of whom kept in contact with him for many years,” said Tim.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

  • Peter Bide   Picture: DORSET POLICE

When Monkton Wyld closed in the early 1980s, Peter earned a living through a mixed bag of jobs, including teaching at Symondsbury college, supply teaching at local secondary schools, delivering groceries in and around Charmouth for Dampier’s store and cutting the grass at local libraries.

Peter had a strong creative streak and always had some project on the go. Over the years these included wood carving and building model sailing ships.

“He was endlessly patient and constructed each ship plank by plank to include all the details and the amazingly complicated rigging,” said Tim. “When we look at them now, we marvel at how he managed to achieve such ‘museum standard’ results.”

He was an avid reader from childhood throughout his life and would get through several books each week.  He particularly enjoyed historical fiction and detective novels but he had an enquiring mind and also read many non-fiction history books.

“As children, he read to us most nights and I have treasured memories of listening to him reading Winnie the Pooh stories and, best of all, the Hobbit.  He could do all the voices and we couldn’t wait for him to read the next episode,” said Tim.

“Although he appeared rather quiet and self-contained, Peter was a man of many parts and enjoyed performing. He needed no encouragement to take to the stage and, when we were young, he regularly contributed skits to the annual Charmouth Show in the church hall.

“He was a quiet man and he never complained about anything, he just adapted to any setbacks.”

Peter leaves behind children Peter, Elizabeth and Tim, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Granddaughter Sophie said he was a ‘very funny, kind man’ who adored his great grandchildren.

“He valued his independence and still got out and about to do his shopping. He was very well known around Charmouth.”

Peter had been on his way home from the shop when a collision took place.

Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the incident.

They are appealing for any vehicles or pedestrians who were in the area and witnessed the incident to contact them.

They are also keen to hear from anyone who may have captured the collision on dashcam.

“We would be grateful to anyone who responds to the police’s request for information,” said Tim. “We are also very grateful to those who tried to help that day.”

Anyone with information can contact Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 23:346.