Tributes paid to Argyll paraglider
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.’