HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to an “inspirational” father and husband who died while snorkelling in the Caribbean.
Mark Crick, 47, of Primrose Way, Stamford, was on an environmental field trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands when his body was found floating in the sea to the north of the town of Providenciales.
He was rushed to the emergency department of the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre but paramedics were unable to resuscitate him.
Mark had been in the islands for a week working for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
He was due to fly home on Saturday, March 26 and had told friends and family that morning he was going for a quick snorkel before his flight.
Mark was an experienced swimmer and snorkeller. His body was discovered that afternoon at about 5pm.
A spokesman for Turks and Caicos police said there was no foul play suspected and the coroner on the island was satisfied with the pathologist’s verdict of death by drowning.
His body was flown home on Saturday and an inquest was opened and adjourned yesterday by Stamford coroner Gordon Ryall.
Mark leaves behind wife Helga, 44, and sons Ben, 14, and Tom, nine.
Helga said: “Mark was our best friend.
“He was always there for us even if he was feeling tired or down. He would always join in with anything we wanted to do, regardless of how he felt.
“He was a very modest man but he was passionate about all that he did.”
Mark, who was born and raised in Luton, was an experienced botanist and worked as an environmental officer for the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust before moving to Stamford in 1998.
He had been in Turks and Caicos seeing how a satellite map he had helped create could benefit conservation on the ground.
Helga said: “I spoke to him on the Saturday morning. His voice was going because he’d done an evening of karaoke but he seemed fine and wished Ben luck for a show he would be involved in later that day.
“Ben was due to be interviewed by the Mercury about an acting award he had won and Mark told him he was really looking forward to coming home and reading about it in the paper.”
The family found out about Mark’s death two days after it happened, on March 28.
Helga said: “I hadn’t expected to hear from Mark until he got home, but instead of my husband the knock on the door came from a policeman.
“It was a complete shock. The saddest thing is that he never got to see any of Ben’s performance awards.
“It’s very sad for all of us but we are trying to stay positive and celebrate his life.
“Ben has been the man of the house for the past two weeks. He has mowed the lawn and asked me if he needs to learn how to use a drill.
“Tom takes after his dad’s love of nature and has a science corner in his bedroom.
“The two of them would often go out bat-tracking in the summer and I think Tom is hoping to follow his father into conservation.”
Mark was also known in Stamford for his involvement in Stamford Arts Centre and inspired last year’s Stamford Festival of Ghosts
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made and no date has been set for the inquest hearing.
If you would like to pay tribute to Mark Crick, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org