A “SMALL bloke with the biggest heart” died after he came off his motorbike and collided with a police motorcyclist.

Witnesses say Dave Hillman seemed to lose control of his machine and was thrown into the path of the officer’s bike travelling in the opposite direction on the A371 Cheddar Road at about 2.30pm last Thursday.

An inquest opened and adjourned on Tuesday heard that Mr Hillman, 40, of Lyngford Square, Taunton, died shortly afterwards from traumatic chest injuries.

The policeman was not injured, and collision investigators closed the road to carry out an examination of the scene.

Mr Hillman’s widow, Sam, said: “Dave loved people. He got on with everybody.

“He had a big heart, he was kind, really good-natured, protective, selfless and would help anybody.”

Her brother, Jason, who worked for Mr Hillman’s duct work and ventilation firm Ducter Dave, was following on another bike at the time of the accident.

Mr Hillman, who leaves a grown-up daughter, Candice, from a previous relationship, and a granddaughter, Summer, three, spent many weekends sea kayaking in Woolacombe.

Mrs Hillman, who he married two years ago this week after being together for five years, said: “He loved the outdoors.

“I have happy memories of us swimming with whale sharks in Mexico on our honeymoon.

“He loved music, playing the guitar, street dancing and animals – he enjoyed walking the dog.

Police have appealed for witnesses to the accident to contact the Avon and Somerset force’s collision investigation unit on 101.

Mr Hillman’s funeral is at Taunton Deane Crematorium, in Taunton, at 2.30pm on Thursday, July 17.

Arrangements are by Nigel K. Ford, with donations, if wished to the Dogs Trust.

Among scores of Facebook tributes were.

Helen Marks: The effect you had on our lives is overwhelming.

Rich Wiltshire: Will be missed by many, what a bloke.

Paul Rigby: The greatest big little man ever.

Kelly Jones: The nicest bloke, so kind and friendly.

Carly Marks: A small bloke with the biggest heart.

Candice Clack: Love u so much daddy u will always be the number 1 man in my life.

Stephen Weave Perring: U were an amazing man and loved by so many.