Family and colleagues of a truck driver killed in a horror motorway crash have paid tribute to a “salt of the earth” man whose two great passions were “his lorries and his family”.

Trevor Kitchingman, 42, from Silsden, was driving his articulated heavy goods vehicle, which was carrying livestock, when it was involved in a collision with a second HGV on the M6 south of Southwaite, in Cumbria, on Friday.

Police released his identity yesterday.

Several of the dad-of-two’s load of cattle had to be put down at the scene after the trailer overturned and they became trapped.

Last night, the boss of Longthorne Bros Livestock Transportation, said Mr Kitchingman had been one of his drivers for eight years and was “one of the very best”.

Mark Longthorne, from the haulage company based near Skipton, said: “He was one of the very best, he was the salt of the earth. No one could say a thing wrong about him.

“He’d do anything for anyone. He was a super fella, much loved and much missed. He had two passions in life – his lorries and his family.”

Mr Kitchingman’s wife Kath paid her own tribute saying he was the most precious person in her life.

She said: “Trevor was a very proud man with a massive heart. I loved him with all my heart and soul. I couldn’t love him more.

“I cannot believe he has been taken from this world. Trevor had a massive, expanding heart of gold. He would help anyone with anything and nothing was too much trouble to him.

“He loved the outdoor life and the fresh air of the country. He was a very much loved gentle giant.

“Trevor loved working with livestock. He always said he would one day like a farm of his own. He also said he would one day own a Range Rover. He got the next best thing to that which was his Discovery III.

“The last time I spoke to Trevor was about half an hour before his accident. He was at Lockerbie Truck Stop on his break and had had his tea. I still wait for his phone call, his text, the twinkly glint in his happy smiling eyes and that cheeky smile of his.

“He was always happy. I long for his ‘Hello Darling’ as I answer the telephone to him but most of all the great big reassuring cuddles he gave from those strong manly arms.

“The feeling is surreal that I won’t ever see him, touch him, smell him, hold him or hear him again.”

Mr Kitchingman leaves behind two children, Kristeena Mae and Karl, whom he loved like his own.

Kristeena said: “He made my life special and made me feel like daddy’s girl. No-one will ever measure up to him and the love that he gave to me. He’s forever in my heart and I miss him so much it hurts.”

He also leaves behind his mother Margaret and siblings Jim, Sarah, David, Kate and Lorna.

Fellow truckers also posted messages of a Flickr site. One said “Rest in peace Big Trev you are greatly missed” while another said “A true gent in every sence of the word he will be greatly missed by all who knew him R.I.P Trev.”

Police are investigating the circumstances of the collision which occurred at 11.10pm and are appealing for witnesses to call PC Andy Ivison at Cumbria Police’s road traffic unit on 101.

The other driver, a 34-year-old man, escaped unhurt.