Warwick kayaker Gareth Lockyer was “always watching out for other people”

The family of Warwick man Gareth Lockyer, who died after getting into difficulty in the River Usk in Wales, have paid tribute to him.

The 34-year-old mechanical design engineer, who was a member of Leamington Spa Canoe Club, became separated from the group he was with at Llangynidr, near Crickhowell, on Sunday lunchtime.

His body was found by rescuers at 11.20am on Monday.

His family, who released a statement through Dyfed Powys Police, said he was a keen kayaker, mountain biker and hill walker.

Gareth grew up in the Cotswolds but has lived in the Warwick area for the last six years with his partner Emma and worked as a senior engineer for Alstom in Rugby.

The University of Nottingham graduate was a member of the Cub Scouts and then the Scouts, which is where he started canoeing - and five years ago, he joined Royal Leamington Spa Canoe Club and would go away on kayaking trips around the UK, most often to North Wales and Dartmoor.

But Gareth had never been in that section of the River Usk before. His family said he had been excited about coming to Wales. He had been properly equipped for the group kayak when setting out at the weekend.

A search that had begun on Sunday had to be called off until the following day due to bad weather conditions, but the Brecon Mountain Rescue team conducted an aerial search on Monday and specialist dogs were called in to help narrow down the search.

Villagers in Llangynidr had turned out in droves to help with the search effort and provide tea and refreshments for emergency crews. Several of them told reporters at the scene that they had never seen the river so high.

In a statement, his family said: “Gareth was always watching out for other people, putting others before himself and he was being kind, caring and gentle.”

They have thanked all of the emergency services involved in searching for him and ask for privacy at this devastating time.

Alstom released the following statement: “Gareth was a capable, diligent and professional engineer who consistently delivered successful projects for Alstom and our customers.

“At Alstom we remember him as a warm, considerate and patient individual, who enjoyed the outdoor life. We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Gareth at such a young age. Gareth leaves behind many friends at Alstom, in the UK and around the world.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

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