THE grieving family of a much loved Hampshire engineer who died suddenly have made a poignant charitable donation.

Barry Thacker, an engineer who worked for bus company Bluestar, died at the age of just 37.

The heartfelt donation was made after his family teamed up with Barry’s former colleagues at his Eastleigh depot to raise £3,000 for charity.

His loved ones raised the cash after selling Mr Thacker’s tools to former colleagues at the company where he had worked for nearly two decades before his death last year.

Now £1,500 of that money has been donated to the firm’s chosen charity, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

The remaining £1,500 will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Bluestar engineer Lee Grady, who presented the cash to the RNIB, said: “We were very touched by this thoughtful gesture.

“Barry was a much-loved colleague, having worked here for almost 20 years.

“Everyone here is devastated by his loss.

“By selling Barry’s tools, we have raised around £3,000 – half of which is going to Macmillan Cancer Support and the other half to our corporate charity – the RNIB.

“I know they will put it to very good use, in Barry’s name.

“We miss him terribly, and feel this is a fitting tribute to our friend and colleague.”

RNIB representative Natalie Hargreaves said: “We are completely overwhelmed by the sheer kindness and generosity of both the Bluestar engineering team and Barry’s family.

“We are extremely grateful for such a wonderful donation.”

“RNIB support a large number of local blind and partially-sighted residents, and this donation will go a long way towards helping more local blind and partially-sighted people to face the future with confidence.”

Bluestar, formerly the Solent Blue Line and a subsidiary of Southern Vectis, runs services through Southampton, Winchester and the Waterside - including the Unilink services connecting Southampton University and also runs services to Southampton General Hospital.