Tributes paid to Argyll paraglider

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

TRIBUTES have been paid af­ter a former Lochgilp­head man died in a paraglid­ing ac­ci­dent in New Zealand.

Ben Letham, 26, had a love for the out­doors sparked in Argyll. He learned to surf on waves at Westport and Tangy beaches near Camp­bel­town and it is to these Kin­tyre winds some of Ben’s ashes will be re­turned.

He moved to New Zealand to pur­sue his out­door dreams and had been a pi­lot with GForce Paraglid­ing near Queen­stown on South Is­land for three years.

Ben was on a solo re­cre­ational flight when he crashed last Satur­day.

As the sad news broke, a Just­giv­ing page was set up with a tar­get of £7,000 ‘to give all those he has touched a chance to help give Ben the send-off he de­serves and to lighten the load for all his loved ones’. By Wed­nes­day the to­tal raised ex­ceeded £10,000.

GForce Paraglid­ing sus­pended op­er­a­tions for a pe­riod as a mark of re­spect and com­pany co-di­rec­tor Gavin Tay­lor said: ‘Our whole team is ab­so­lutely devastated by his death. He was a re­ally nice guy, a tal­ented pi­lot and we’re stunned to lose one of the youngest mem­bers of our team with his whole life ahead of him.’

Ben took off on Satur­day from Sky­line Gon­dola and landed in the grounds of Queen­stown Pri­mary School. Mr Tay­lor said con­di­tions at the time of the in­ci­dent had been calm and could not com­ment on what may have gone wrong.

As mes­sages of con­do­lence poured in, Ben’s sis­ter Vicky Zo­ers said: ‘We will have a cer­e­mony to which every­one will be wel­come where we can give him back to the wind he so loved.’

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