A daughter has paid tribute to her “unique and fun” father after he died in a single-vehicle crash. 

Brian Thomas, 80, died after emergency services were called to a crash on the A120 near Braintree at about 4am on Thursday, February 29. 

Paying tribute to him, his daughter said: "Brian was a born-again Christian, father to one son and one daughter. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Brian Thomas recently celebrated his 80th birthdayBrian Thomas recently celebrated his 80th birthday (Image: Essex Police)

“He was known for his unique, fun and bantering sense of humour, as well as for being caring, thoughtful and persevering.

“His intelligence made him a good and respected teacher, of Maths in particular, and he was good at maintaining silence in the classroom. 

“Brian was successful at crossword competitions, loved classical music and was also a keen golfer and chess player. 

“He once ran a 100-mile race, as well as numerous marathons in South Africa, and won a silver medal in the well-known Comrades marathon. 

“This regimen led to him attending the gym almost six days a week after he retired from running.

“He loved to eat out at Toby Carvery and his children referred to him as ‘Papa Bear’. 

“We thank God we were able to celebrate his 80th birthday recently.”

The A120 was closed in both directions for a number of hours while officers carried out investigations. 

Anyone with any information is being asked to contact Essex Police quoting the incident number 93 of February 29.