A SKIING holiday turned into tragedy when a former Harborough man died in a crash on the way to the airport.
Gavin Smith (34) died at the scene of the accident on the notorious Shoby Bends stretch of the A6006 near Melton Mowbray, where he lived with his wife, Jenny and their son, Edward (3).
Gavin was a front seat passenger in a Land Rover which was in collision with a lorry travelling in the opposite direction shortly after 6am on Saturday, February 23.
He and two friends were on their way to pick up a fourth person to catch their plane from East Midlands Airport for a week of skiing in France.
Gavin’s wife, Jenny (nee Blewitt) has paid tribute to the man she met in the Cherry Tree, Little Bowden, where she worked as a student.
“He was an incredibly friendly person and very conscious of his family. He was also a workaholic, but in a nice way. He had a work ethic that would be difficult to match. He was acutely aware that his reputation remained solid and sound.
“He was very loving and a gentle giant, really. He loved a joke and had lots of friends. Edward looked up to his daddy and he loved going on tractors and combines with him. He was very ‘hands-on’ as a dad and was like a big kid himself.”
Gavin, who spent his early childhood in Little Bowden, and later lived in Nottingham, studied at Brackenhurst College of Agriculture, near Newark.
His love of farming stemmed from his late grandparents, Barbara and Eddie Costello, with whom he lived for several years in Kelmarsh. Gavin worked for a number of farmers in the area including John Gowling and Gordon Handy.
He met Jenny, of Harborough, in 1997 and they were married in 2000 at St Nicholas, Little Bowden. They lived in the town until moving to Stoughton where Gavin worked in the Co-op’s organic farm unit. Later the couple moved to Melton Mowbray where Gavin continued his agricultural work.
Gavin’s funeral will be at St Nicholas’ Church, on Thursday, March 14 at 2pm, followed by cremation at Kettering for close friends and family.
Jenny has asked for family flowers only, but donations can be made in lieu to Macmillan Cancer Support online at www.jstampandsons.co.uk or by sending them to J Stamp and Sons, Funeral Directors, 15 Kettering Road, Market Harborough, LE16 8AN.
A 54-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and bailed pending further enquiries.