Tributes to 'role model' teacher who died in paddleboarding incident

Paddleboarder ‘who died after getting tangled in moorings’ off Cornwall beach is identified as ‘inspirational’ teacher, 42

  • Simon Flynn, 42, fell into water near to the sailing club at Rock beach on Monday 
  • Mr Flynn was a teach from Cheltenham who had worked at schools in Gloucester
  • He was one of two men who came off boards while paddleboarding near Rock
  • Tributes have been paid to Mr Flynn by family and bosses at his former schools 

Tributes have been paid to a ‘truly inspirational teacher and role model’ who died in a  ‘freak’ paddleboard accident.

Experienced water-sports enthusiast Simon Flynn, 42, is believed to have been on holiday when he got into trouble in water between Padstow and Rock in Cornwall on Bank Holiday Monday.

Mr Flynn, a teacher from Cheltenham, is thought to have fallen from a paddleboard in strong currents, before becoming entangled in moorings.   

Emergency services rushed to the scene at around 1.55pm on Monday after reports from concerned onlookers. 

Despite resuscitation attempts, Mr Flynn was later pronounced dead at the scene, police say.

Mr Flynn’s family have today paid tribute to him on Facebook, describing the tragedy as a ‘freak accident’.

Simon Flynn, 42, is believed to have been on holiday when he got into trouble in water between Padstow and Rock in Cornwall on Bank Holiday Monday

Mr Flynn, a teacher from Cheltenham, is believed to have fallen from a paddleboard in strong currents before becoming entangled in moorings. Pictured: at Rock beach in Cornwall

They said: ‘It is with immeasurable sadness that we, Simon’s family, must announce that he tragically passed away in a freak accident while having the time of his life in Cornwall.

‘He loved his job, he loved working and developing his students and for this we thank you all for supporting him.’

The message was posted on Cotswold Tutor, a page for Mr Flynn’s business based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

In a later statement, released through Devon and Cornwall police, the family added: ‘Simon was a confident and experienced water sport enthusiast who loved holidays on the British Coast.

‘His family, girlfriend and friends are completely heartbroken by his death, but know he would be humbled by the numerous, incredible tributes on social media.

‘Simon was described by so many as incredibly kind, generous, humorous, thoughtful, caring, and above all a true inspiration to all his pupils, who respected and loved him dearly.’ 

The family also spoke of their gratitude to emergency services who tried to save Mr Flynn’s life, and thanked those who had shared messages of support online.

It is understood that Mr Flynn previously worked as a teacher at schools in the city of Gloucester.

One of the schools, King’s School, sent an email sent an email to parents, in which they described Mr Flynn as ‘a very special, dynamic, vibrant and inspirational teacher.’

The statement added: ‘He will be sorely missed. Just being with him was like being with a bundle of fun.’

Claire Mills, a senior lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire, also praised Mr Flynn, who taught her son.

She said: ‘He was truly inspirational teacher and role model. I just feel numb at the tragic way in which he died.’

Devon and Cornwall Police said the incident is not being treated as suspicious.

A spokesperson said: ‘Police were contacted by the coastguard at around 1.55pm on Monday, August 31, following reports that a man had got into difficulty while paddleboarding with friends in the estuary between Padstow and Rock.

The 42-year-old man fell into the water off the sailing club at Rock beach at around 1.55pm on Monday

‘The 42-year-old man was believed to have been on holiday in the area.

‘Sadly, despite CPR being attempted, he was pronounced deceased at the scene.

‘The man’s next-of-kin have been informed. The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file is being prepared for the coroner.’

The tributes come after it was revealed that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s daughters were among the horrified crowds who saw the incident. 

A representative of the Kitchen Nightmares star told MailOnline his daughters were walking on the beach at the time of the tragedy. 

Ramsay, 53, who bought a £4.4million home in Rock village in 2015, has three daughters, Meghan, 22, Holly, 20, and Matilda, 18.   

Gordon Ramsay, 53, who owns a £4.4million home in Rock village (pictured), has three daughters, Meghan, 22, Holly, 20, and Matilda, 18

The tragic holidaymaker was paddleboarding on the Camel Estuary with another man when they came off their boards in the fast-moving currents. 

A local boatman managed to free the entrapped man from the moorings and haul him into his vessel.

But this boatman also encountered problems and was forced to fire a red mayday flare to signal for help.

A major rescue operation was launched involving the Padstow Harbour boat, Rock RNLI and Polzeath Coastguard teams.

James Instance, from Falmouth Coastguard, said: ‘A couple of people had been out on paddleboards on the Camel Estuary with a flooding tide.

‘With the water moving quite quickly, they had come off the boards and then got tangled in moorings in the area.

‘That had caused a problem when they were unable to free themselves.’ 

Mr Instance said that despite a major rescue operation involving paramedics, the lifeboat crew and others, one of the males was declared dead at the scene. 

As part of the rescue a local boat went in and managed to free him and recovered him into his vessel.

The incident took in the water off the sailing club on Rock beach which is close to where the TV chef owns a home

He said: They then tried to bring him to shore, but then got into a little bit of trouble and fired a red flare,’  

He added: ‘It was very fast moving and dynamic. There were a lot of resources going in a somewhat confusing picture.

‘Despite the best efforts that were put in by paramedics, the lifeboat crew and others, he was declared deceased at the scene.’  

Many boats are fastened to moorings buoys off Rock Beach, which are in turn chained to the sea bed.  

Paddle-boarding has ballooned in popularity in recent years and one of the fastest-growing water sports. 

Ramsay purchased the 1920s property for £4.4million in Rock village 2015 and has been renovating the lavish home.

The house has two kitchens, a swimming pool, a wine cellar and four en-suite bathrooms, around 100 yards from the beach. 

Earlier this week, Ramsay posted a video of him and his wife Tana, 46, enjoying a thrilling RIB (rigid inflatable boat) ride off the Cornish coast.

Holly Ramsay’s twin brother Jack and their baby brother Oscar, one, have also been holidaying in Cornwall.  

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