THE family of an elderly couple killed in a hit and run say they will be “forever mourning their loss”.

The tribute comes as officers issue a fresh appeal for information about the collision which claimed the lives of childhood sweethearts Ann Nickerson, 75, and Lawrence Nickerson, 79.

The collision happened shortly after 7.20pm on Saturday, November 23 near the Punch Bowl, on Jesmond Road, Newcastle.

A statement issued on behalf of the Nickerson family read: "Our entire family has been left inconsolable by the loss of Ann and Lawrence. They were our parents, our grandparents and our best friends.

“As childhood sweethearts they married and raised three children together while working hard to build up their own family business, Clarks Home Bakery. The business went on to provide for the entire family for 42 years.

“Next year we were all preparing to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary and Lawrence’s 80th birthday.

“They were both extremely healthy and independent for their age with Ann not taking any medication, not even paracetamol. They travelled all over the world, striking up conversation with everyone they met, and making friends everywhere they visited.

“For our loved ones to be taken from us in such a horrific and tragic way, we will be forever changed and mourning this loss."

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The Heaton family has called on the public to keep coming forward and helping police with their ongoing investigation.

Sergeant Matt Sykes, of Northumbria Police’s Motor Patrols Department, said: "This is a terribly upsetting case which has resulted in the tragic death of two people.

"I want to thank all the witnesses who have come forward so far and helped us, but we are still in need of dashcam footage to help us formulate a picture of the events leading up to, and after the collision. If you were in the area at the time of the incident, and you think you can help, please get in touch.”

Following the incident, Northumbria Police launched an investigation to trace the vehicle and its driver, which had made off from the scene and a 22-year-old-male was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He has since been released under investigation.

A 24-year-old male was also arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and remains under investigation.

Anyone with any information or dashcam footage which could help officers is asked to call 101 or email quoting reference 338 231119.