Sep 9 2013
The father of a British man who drowned alongside his fiancee on holiday in Sicily has described his devastation and said he was proud to have had him as his son.
Andrew Sturgess, 34, is believed to have died while attempting to rescue Romanian-born Carmen Spiridon, 25, after she got into difficulty while swimming off the coast of south-west Sicily.
Mr Sturgess's father Glynn, 61, was overcome with emotion as he paid tribute to his son, who worked for a hydraulics company.
Speaking from his home in Stoke, he told the Telegraph newspaper: "Andrew was a cherished person who did everything he could for his family, his friends and more importantly, his brother, who is disabled and needed round-the-clock care..
"He was a member of a church, a loving son, and just a well-loved person. I was proud to have him as a son and it's a tragedy that will affect everyone who knew him very deeply."
He said the couple had been visiting Ms Spiridon's mother in Sicily and had been looking forward to the visit. It was when Ms Spiridon got into trouble in the sea that her fiance rushed to save her, he said.
It was a trait that was "typical" of Mr Sturgess who was "always ready to do the right thing", his father said.
The couple were well-loved members of the Breathe City Church in Abbey Hulton, Stoke. Mr Sturgess began to attend the church in the summer of 2011 and his partner joined him soon afterwards.
The church's associate pastor Paul Jukes said: "Andrew and Carmen were committed and well-loved members of Breathe City Church.
"Andrew and Carmen were both active members of Breathe City Church and would regularly be seen welcoming people together at the door each Sunday morning. It was apparent that Andrew and Carmen were greatly in love and committed to one another. It is with great sadness that we have received this news and our thoughts and prayers are with their family and friends at this difficult time."