TRIBUTES have been paid to carnival stalwart Andrew 'Big D' White after it was announced he passed away earlier this week.

Mr White, a driver for Somerset Waste Partnership for the past 10 years, was a familiar face in carnival circles in Bridgwater and beyond and was a prominent member of the Marketeers Carnival Club.

It is understood he was just 46 years old.

Chris Hocking, Bridgwater Carnival co-ordinator  described Big D as a 'gentle giant'. 

"Big D – or Big Derick to give him his full title – was the name Andrew White was best known by his friends in carnival, in particular by the members of Marketeers Carnival Club where he was a giant of a man, not just in stature but also in his huge commitment to the club.  He was a gentle giant, full of fun and always ready to lend a hand wherever possible.

"He was a Marketeer through and through and therefore had very little involvement with the carnival committee, although he did help us out on a few occasions when we needed a driver for our Guy Fawkes tableau cart. 

"He was a character who you would instantly recognise and his familiar face on the carnival circuit will be sorely and sadly missed by the carnival community."

Steven Wright, Marketeers CC secretary said: "He was probably one of the nicest people you could ever meet.

"He was so well liked, and he had been with the club for many, many years.

"He didn't always want the spotlight and was quite in the background, but was always willing to do things and that is probably why he was so well respected - whether it was fundraising or building the cart he always got stuck in. He will be sorely missed."

Marketeers Carnival Club said: "Some terrible news. Really, really don't know what to say, apart from we will miss a great man, a great friend and a great Marketeer."

A Somerset Waste Partnership statement said: "Today we have been thinking about Andrew 'Big D' White, who passed away suddenly on Monday night.

"A familiar face behind the wheel of Somerset's collection trucks for the past ten years, and a much loved, trusted and valued friend and colleague to all who knew him.

"He went too soon and will be missed."

Alternatively, call Bridgwater reporter Steven Salter on 01823 365171.