WARM tributes have been paid to a father-of-two who died suddenly while mountain biking on one of his favourite routes through Dalby Forest.

Stephen Major, 55, who was well- known in Malton for his love of the outdoors and extreme sports, died last Saturday despite the best efforts of fellow bikers and paramedics to save his life.

His sister, Linda Waddington, 58, said: “He was an avid mountain biker who spent every weekend out in Dalby Forest. Last weekend he wasn’t out with his usual partners. He went out on his own, but met some guys he knew. He sped off and they found him ten minutes after they set off.”

Mr Major is survived by his wife of 16 years, Jackie, and daughters Nicole, 18, and Olivia, 14.

Mrs Major said: “He was very fit. In fact in the last couple of weeks he said he felt the fittest he had ever been. He was keen on hang-gliding and paragliding. He just loved being outdoors.

“He was a very successful businessman. He was such a popular and well-liked guy.”

His sister described him as an “adrenaline junkie” and said he loved to do things which “got him buzzing.”

“It’s such a tragic loss,” she said.

“It never should have been.”

Nephew Dale Waddington, 27, said: “This is a devastating time for the family. We lost our granddad last year and Steve sort of took on the role of head of the family. Something like this shouldn’t have happened because he was such an athlete.”

Mr Major, a former pupil of Malton Secondary Modern, started his working life as an apprentice electrician before going on to start up his own successful business, Major Electrical, and he was well known to many in Malton.

Mrs Waddington said: “He was the most genuine man you could ever want to meet. He said it the way it was.

“He was a big family man. He loved his wife and his girls and his nieces and nephews.”

Mr Major’s funeral will take place on Monday, at 3pm, at the East Riding Crematorium in Octon.

His family would like to thank the bikers, paramedics and members of the mountain rescue team who tried to save his life. They have also asked for those attending the funeral to make donations to the British Heart Foundation, instead of sending flowers.