UPDATED: Family’s anguish after jet ski tragedy

Stephen Campbell, 38, from Blackpool, died in Thailand on March 19
Stephen Campbell, 38, from Blackpool, died in Thailand on March 19
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The family of a Blackpool barber who died in a jet ski accident while on holiday in Thailand face having to raise more than £30,000 to bring his body home.

Stephen Campbell, 38, of Talbot Road, Layton, died when his jet ski hit a wave, causing him to lose balance and fall into a rope, which was anchoring a nearby boat.

His family today paid tribute to a “wonderful son and brother” as they revealed his insurance does not cover jet skiing, meaning they will have to find to money to repatriate his body.

Mr Campbell, who ran his own business, Urban Barbers on Talbot Road, was rushed to Banglamung Hospital near Pattaya at around 2pm on Wednesday but died of his injuries.

The barber had visited Thailand three times over the last three years but had never ridden a jet ski.

Brother in law Giles Ward said: “We have raised £4,000 and got another £2,000 in pledges after less than a day.

“We have been told repatriation will cost in excess of £30,000 and we want to put something in place to get this happening as soon as his body can be released.

“We just was to get him back as soon as possible.”

Mr Campbell’s mother Patsy, 66, a retired school teacher, said: “I can’t put into words how I feel or how much I’ll miss him. We are all absolutely devastated.

“Stephen had a heart of gold and a real zest for life.

“He loved being active and he played squash and tennis. When he was younger he was a keen skateboarder and did amateur dramatics too.

“He was always smiling and was a real family man. I’m in a state of shock and we’ll all miss him terribly.”

Mr Campbell had travelled to the resort on March 10 for a three-week holiday.

Mr Campbell went with his friend and was due to fly back home next Monday.

His father Peter, 66, also a retired school teacher, said: “He was just so clumsy and anyone who knows him will have lots of stories about him spilling drinks or injuring himself in some way.

“He’s broken his wrist and collar bone before and so we all used to call him ‘Calamity Campbell’.

“Sadly, it was just one accident too many.

“Stephen had a heart of gold and a great sense of humour.

“His wide circle of friends reflected what sort of person he was.

“I was so shocked to hear what happened.

“Stephen was always so happy and really loved life.

“It’s a tragic accident.”

His sister Catherine Ward, 40, said: “After he came off the jet ski and hit the rope, he was lying face down in the water.

“But Stephen was always joking around.

“It was only when he (his friend) got nearer when he realised it was serious.

“It’s just an awful accident.”

Catherine, a mother-of-two, said Stephen was a “loving uncle” to her sons, aged six and eight.

“He was so young at heart,” she said.

“He was like Peter Pan and never wanted to grow up. He was great with his nephews and when they were together I felt like I had three kids, not two.

“We are all devastated.

“Stephen was the life and soul of the party and I can’t imagine what life will be like without him.”

Mother Patsy added: “We all want to thank everyone for all their support. It has been overwhelming.”

Today, his friends paid glowing tributes to Mr Campbell.

Christine Parker, of Barmouth Avenue, Marton, had known Mr Campbell for the last 25 years.

She said: “A beautiful shining light has gone out of my life.

“He was so special and an absolutely lovely guy.”

A Facebook page has been set up by the family to help raise the money to repatriate Mr Campbell’s body.

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