A taxi driver tragically found dead in his cab outside Heathrow Airport has been named as a "witty" dad-of-two.

Friends have named Richard Harris, 56, as the man found dead in a sleeping bag in the back of his vehicle on Wednesday (May 12).

He is believed to have been one of many taxi drivers camping outside the airport in the hopes of a fare, My London reports.

As a result, there had been fears he may have not been noticed for some time due to the volume of black cabs parked at the location.

However, a friend has dismissed reports he had been there for three or four days before being found.

Mike Tinnion, professional driving rep at trade union GMB, knew Richard for more than 15 years and described him as “a genuinely nice guy” who “always worked hard”.

Since the pandemic hit air traffic has almost disappeared
Since the pandemic hit air traffic has almost disappeared

Speaking to My London on Monday, he said: “I have known him for 15 years from when I was a black cab driver.

“He was a genuinely nice guy who always worked hard. He had two daughters who I think are part of the UK karate team.

“Sadly, I don’t know anyone that hasn’t slept in the back of their cab at least once. I have certainly done it.”

A fundraising page has also been created by close friend Billy Cunliffe with the aim of covering the funeral costs. The page had an initial target of £3,000, but has already reached double at more than £6,800.

The page describes Richard as “witty, intelligent and likeable”.

He is believed to have been one of many taxi drivers camping outside the airport in the hopes of a fare
He is believed to have been one of many taxi drivers camping outside the airport in the hopes of a fare

The page says: “I am trying to raise funds to go towards the funeral of a very dear friend who sadly passed away [on Wednesday, May 12].

"Richard Harris, known to many as Skinner, was a father of two beautiful young ladies and one of London's finest Black Taxi drivers who served the trade for over 20 years.

"His father was a licensed Black Taxi driver, as was his former partner and her father - the trade was in his blood!

“He mainly worked from Heathrow Airport and would be very well known, as you would find it hard not to like him if you had the pleasure of meeting him. He was witty, intelligent, likeable and loved a debate!

“Richard had a number of physical and mental health issues over recent years and was doing his best to fight through it, with help from his friends, because of his precious girls.

Drivers have been left with no choice to sleep on mattress to keep their place in the queue
Drivers have been left with no choice to sleep on mattress to keep their place in the queue

"He was finding it hard because of the 100+ mile distance between them, but was in constant contact with them both.

“They were everything to him, he was such a proud dad and they were the main motivation for him to sort his situation out.

“We're hoping to help raise whatever we can to go towards Richard's funeral costs as he leaves behind two wonderful young ladies and an ex partner, who are struggling to come to terms with what has happened, let alone worrying about how they will find the money to pay for his funeral.”

At the taxi park outside Heathrow, drivers have been left with no choice but to sleep on mattresses in the back of their vehicles to keep their place in the queue.

Since the pandemic hit air traffic has almost disappeared hitting taxi drivers who rely on tourists visiting the capital.

If they leave their cabs in the line and go home to rest for a few hours they will lose out on the chance of picking up a passenger from the terminal.

If you knew Richard and would like to contribute to a tribute article in his memory, please contact [email protected]

You can donate to the fundraising page here.