Tributes paid to Richmond photographer and SFX campus manager Chris Collier

Chris Collier with partner Samantha Sparkles.

Tributes have been paid to “kind and caring” Richmond photographer and St Francis Xavier School campus manager Chris Collier.

The father-of-three died suddenly in his sleep at the weekend aged 43.

Chris, who ran the campus at SFX as well as St Mary’s Primary in Richmond and a school in Northallerton, was engaged to marry partner Samantha Sparkles.

The couple had set a date for their wedding in July next year.

Samantha said she was in disbelief at his death, as were her own children who called him their stepfather.

She added: “We were so happy. We stupidly always joked that something would happen now that we had found each other and we felt the way that we did, but I never truly imagined for one second it would.

“I’m not supposed to be planning his death — I’m supposed to be planning our life together.”

Hundreds of people have paid tribute to Chris online.

Samantha said she was so thankful for all the kind words and messages.

“I am grateful for every well wished comment or message.

“Please keep writing your words. I read them all I just don’t know how to respond.”

Announcing Chris’ death, SFX said in a statement: “It is with deep sadness that we are mourning the loss of Chris Collier, campus manager from our school community.

“Chris was a kind and caring man who would always help and look out for others with a smile.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.”

Chris, who ran Airborne Artwork, was well known in the town for his photography.

As well as taking landscape images around the town, Chris took photos for junior and senior teams at Richmond Town FC.

The club said in a statement: “Everyone at Richmond Town FC is shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Chris Collier in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“Chris was a previous committee member, a good friend of many, and a true supporter of the club. His media work and photography both for the club and his personal collection were outstanding and will be a lasting tribute.

“Our thoughts are with Chris’ family and three talented young children Abi, Nathan and Luke.”

All Richmond town teams will be conducting a minutes applause for this weekend’s fixtures.

Chris was a keen Sunderland fan and the club has also passed on its best wishes to Chris’ friends and family this week.