Family tributes to tragic canoeist Darren Gilpin

Canoeist Darren Gilpin. Pic: comp

Canoeist Darren Gilpin. Pic: comp

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The family of Darren Gilpin, the canoeist who died at Loch Tay, have today paid tribute to him.

The 29-year-old was in a two-man canoe, which capsized on Sunday, resulting in a major search operation.

Darren’s parents, Kevin and Carol said: “We are all shocked and utterly devastated at the death of our beloved Darren.

“Darren was the comedian of the family and had a great sense of humour. He was always laughing and smiling and his infectious personality made him a joy to be around.

“As well as being a loving son and a wonderful friend, Darren was also completely devoted to his partner Elaine, who he had been with for the past 11-years.

“The pair loved to travel and together with the rest of the family holidayed at a number of different countries around the world.

“Darren loved all types of music, computer gaming and sport - in particular football. He was an avid Hearts fan and attended many games.

“The past few days have been incredibly difficult for our family, but we would like to thank the emergency services who assisted in the search for Darren and for the support they provided to us following his death.

“We are also very grateful to our local community for all the kind words of support they have offered. We now ask that our privacy is respected while we continue to grieve for Darren.”

Friends had earlier revealed that the “cheery lad” who died had been looking forward to going on holiday.

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The city council refuse collector had been out on the water in the boat in the Killin area on Saturday with another man when it capsized.

His companion made it to the shore and called for help, but his body was recovered on Sunday evening following a search.

One friend, who asked not to be named, said she was “devastated” when she heard he had died.

She said: “He was such a lovely person, he had a nice word about everybody. I only saw him a few days ago. He was looking forward to going on holiday.

“His girlfriend Elaine will be devastated. You’d never see one without the other. It’s such a terrible tragedy.”

Family and friends of the former Portobello High pupil, from The Pleasance, flocked to social media, swapping their profile picture for an image of Mr Gilpin.

An aunt, Jan Lawrence, wrote on Facebook: “This is the most devastating day of my life.

“On Friday at around 7pm I said goodbye to my beautiful nephew Darren as they left my house to go on a camping trip, only to get a call from my son on Saturday night to tell me that there had been an accident and my beautiful nephew was missing.”

Members of Mr Gilpin’s family gathered at the scene and comforted each other while the search was carried out.

Police divers from the underwater search team arrived at the Perthshire loch and were joined by crews from the fire service as the hunt went on.

However, on Sunday night the family’s worst fears were confirmed when police officers said divers had recovered

a body from the loch, before confirming his identity yesterday.

Ms Lawrence said the family was grateful to everyone involved in the “amazing search”, but added: “The outcome is tragic and we are all devastated, we will miss you so so much, heartbroken.”

John Bury, acting director of services for communities at the council, described the death as “very sad news”.

He said: “During his time with us Darren made a valuable contribution to the work of the council. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”