PASSENGERS, friends and colleagues have paid tribute to a "dancing" Oxford bus driver who died when his car overturned in Wantage.

Tributes have continued to flood in for Simon Mildren, whose Toyota flipped while he was driving home from a run on The Ridgeway with his dogs on Friday morning.

One of the 52-year-old Stagecoach driver's regular passengers, Gill Griffin, emailed to say: "Such a lovely man. He liked to show off his dance moves while his bus waited at our terminus.

"He certainly made a very tedious bus journey more pleasant with his smile.

"I feel very sad for this family's loss."

Fellow passenger Liza Brandon said: "My 13-year-old son and I use the 700 hospital bus regularly and he would always joke with us.

"We only found out yesterday from another Stagecoach driver and we were in total shock.

"He was such a happy guy, always smiling and had such personality."

Cornwall-born Mr Mildren, who was married to Juanita – an Oxford Bus Company bus driver – served in the Royal Corps of Transport, mainly in Germany, for 24 years before moving to Grove in 1997.

He rapidly became a popular figure in the town, coaching Grove Rugby Club, and was a regular member at local dance group Jive Temptation.

Prior to becoming a bus driver, he was a chef at The Boar's Head, which featured in the AA Food Guide within a year of his arrival.

Jon North, who knew Mr Mildren from his time at the rugby club, said: "He was one of the first people I met when I joined – an absolute gentleman, always welcoming and friendly.

"I remember him refereeing a local derby – Grove vs Harwell. He called both sets of forwards over before kick-off and said 'if you boys want to fight get it over with in the first five minutes and then we can have a proper game of rugby'.

"We did and we had a great game.

"He always had a big smile and would stop for a chat. He will be greatly missed."

Stagecoach said the "popular" driver would be missed by his colleagues and offered its sympathies to the Mildren family.

Business development manager Karen Coventry said: "Simon was a regular driver on routes 700, 800 and 900 serving the hospital sites in Headington.

"He was a popular and well respected member of the Stagecoach team.

"He will be much missed by his friends and colleagues and our deepest sympathies are with his family."

Mr Mildren's son Tony, who earlier this week described him as his "hero" and the "strongest man" he knew, revealed yesterday that his dogs were found safe and well after remarkably making their own way to Wantage Community Hospital following Friday's crash the crash.