May 20, 2022, 10:15

    ‘Amazing and selfless’ Brit, 25, dies trying to rescue pet dog from drowning in Spain

    ‘Amazing and selfless’ Brit, 25, dies trying to rescue pet dog from drowning in Spain

    An "amazing and selfless" Brit has died while trying to rescue his dog from a river, his heartbroken family have confirmed.

    Popular Paul Lebihan, 25, from Gateshead, drowned while trying to save his beloved pet in Spain on Monday.

    Now his loved ones have appealed for help to bring Paul's body back home.

    The tragedy happened in the Bolulla River, near Benidorm, when he was able to free the dog from the current but was unable to escape himself, Chronicle Live reports.

    Paul's cousin, Kallym Bell, launched a GoFundMe page in support of Paul's parents, Deborah and Paul Snr.

    In less than 24 hours the page had already raised over £7,000, with hundreds of people leaving comments paying tribute to 'one of nicest men you could ever meet'.

    Tributes have been paid to Paul, who previously served in the navy

    Kallym Bell)

    Keen amateur boxer Paul was well known by many people across the Leam Lane Estate, and beloved by colleagues from the several years he spent working in the navy. Kallym, 19, called Paul: "[A]n amazing, selfless man with a heart of gold, always the biggest laugh and the very best to be around."

    He said: "He loved being around people, he was very sociable. He loved his boxing, he was a talented boxer, and he loved going out with his friends. He was a very popular kid, very loved."

    Questions still remain for the family around the exact circumstances of Paul's death, and his mother Deborah has now flown out to Spain to collect her son's body – but faces hefty costs to fly him home.

    Kallym thanked everyone who had contributed to the fundraiser to support the devastated parents and said that any donation, however small, was 'appreciated' and would help bring the much-loved young man home.

    Paul with his mum Deborah and dad Paul Snr

    Kallym Bell)

    He added: "It still hasn't really sunk in, I can't even believe it. We just want him back: he was always on this estate, there's a massive family of us living here and we all grew up around here together and all the family who've died are buried around here. Our family has been in Leam Lane since the estate was built and we want to bring Paul back.

    "There's obviously the cost of transporting him back and then the funeral as well. Paul deserves a good funeral, he did a lot for other people and people's donations show that he was very loved.

    "He was very selfless – saving the dog shows that. He would do anything for anyone, it's the same with his time in the Navy, it shows how he was willing to put himself before others."

    Donations can be made here to help bring Paul home.

    He's the fourth person to die in or near the dangerous river in the last month.

    Two people, including a guide, were killed on April 8 after being swept away by the current due to heavy rains. They were part of a group of six people.

    On April 17 a hiker drowned after falling down the waterfall where the latest tragedy occurred.

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