Tributes to 'big kid' Gavin Smith, a very loving husband and father
A skiing holiday turned into tragedy when a vehicle carrying three men was involved in a fatal crash on the way to the airport.
Gavin Smith, 34, died at the scene of the accident on the notorious Shoby Bends stretch of the A6006, near Melton.
Married with a three-year-old son, Gavin was a front seat passenger in a Land Rover which was involved in a collision with a lorry travelling in the opposite direction shortly after 6am on Saturday, February 23.
Gavin and close friends, Thomas Freeman and Mike Pratt, all from Melton, were on their way to pick up Jason Addenbrook, of Old Dalby, to catch their plane from East Midlands Airport for a week of skiing in France.
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Gavin's wife, Jenny, paid tribute to her husband.
She said: "Gavin was an incredibly friendly person and very conscious of his family.
"He was also a workaholic, but in a nice way. He had a work ethic that would be difficult to match. He was acutely aware that his reputation remained solid and sound.
"He was very loving and a gentle giant. He loved a joke and had lots of friends.
"Our son, Edward, looked up to his daddy and he loved going on tractors and combines with him.
"He was very 'hands-on' as a dad and was like a big kid himself."
Jenny also spoke about the friends who were with Gavin in his last moments.
"I couldn't have wished for two more caring friends, who are absolutely distraught at their loss," she said. "Apparently, the conversation they were having just before it happened was about the lovely evening Gavin and I had the night before, at Pizza Express, in Melton."
Gavin, who grew up in Market Harborough and later lived in Nottingham, studied at Brackenhurst College of Agriculture, near Newark, and worked in farming, including A and R Cramphorn, of Melton. He also worked for Wrights, of Rothley, and Bill Scorror, of Colsterworth.
More recently, he had worked for Rutland's John Morris, dealing with groundswork for Anglian Water and gritting all over Rutland.
He was due to start a new job this week as an HGV driver for Gerry Farmer, based between Melton and Harborough.
Gavin's funeral will be held at St Nicholas' Church, Little Bowden, Market Harborough, on Thursday, March 14, at 2pm, followed by a cremation at Kettering for close family only.
Jenny has asked for family flowers only, but donations can be made in lieu to Macmillan Cancer Support by post or online.
Send donations to J Stamp and Sons, Funeral Directors, 15 Kettering Road, Market Harborough, LE16 8AN.
Gordon Birch is the former editor of the Harborough Mail and close family friend.