Family of kayaker Gareth Lockyer pay tribute to 'kind' man

Gareth Lockyer's family said he had never visited that section of the Usk before

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The family of a kayaker whose body was found in the River Usk in Powys after he got into difficulty have paid tribute to him.

Gareth Lockyer, 34, from Warwick, became separated from the group he was with at Llangynidr, near Crickhowell, on Sunday lunchtime.

His body was found by rescuers at 11:20 GMT on Monday.

His family, who said he had never visited that section of the Usk before, called him kind and gentle.

Mr Lockyer had disappeared at about 13:00 GMT on Sunday in a river whose levels were very high after recent rain.

Rescue teams had carried out searches all through the day, and his body was found when the search resumed on Monday, after first being hampered by continued bad weather.

Mr Lockyer grew up in the Cotswolds but more recently lived in Warwick with his partner Emma.

The University of Nottingham engineering graduate worked as a mechanical design engineer and was a keen kayaker, mountain biker and hill walker.

The Leamington Spa Canoe Club member regularly went on kayaking trips around the UK, most often to north Wales and Dartmoor.

'Caring and gentle'

He had never visited the Crickhowell section of the River Usk before, but his family said he was excited about coming to Wales.

In a tribute issued through police, they said Mr Lockyer was always watching out for other people and putting others before himself. They described him as a "kind, caring and gentle" person.

The family thanked members of the emergency services who were involved in searching for him.

Officers from a marine unit at Pembrokeshire were drafted in, along with specialist dogs, to help with the search.

Insp Stuart Eckley thanked the people of Llangynidr for "the excellent support the community has shown to us".

Emergency services at Llangynidr Emergency services at the scene on Sunday
Rescue team in Llangynidr Rescue teams preparing to search the river
Police car on closed bridge over swollen river A police car on the Llangynidr bridge, which was closed as the search got under way on Sunday

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