Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Family of capsize victim devastated

Police search the River Thames near Shepperton after a boat carrying six passengers capsized
Police search the River Thames near Shepperton after a boat carrying six passengers capsized

The family of a senior music executive who died when a boat carrying six passengers capsized have spoken of their devastation.

Keith Lowde, 66, was found by police divers on Monday near where the small vessel suddenly turned over in the River Thames, near Shepperton, Surrey, on Sunday evening.

Recovery teams are continuing to hunt for his friend Rex Walford, a former Cambridge University lecturer, who is feared dead. The four other passengers, three women and one man, described as being in their 50s and 60s, were taken to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey with minor injuries after the incident.

A statement from Mr Lowde's family said: "We are all devastated by the loss of Keith.

"He was a wonderful husband and a truly amazing father. This tragic accident has left a massive hole in all our lives.

"The response from all our friends, Keith's work colleagues and his students has been immense and we thank them all for their support and help. It is clear that over his life Keith has helped so many people in such a positive way. He will be sadly missed but never forgotten."

Mr Lowde is believed to have been taking his wife and two other couples a short distance from his home on Pharaoh's Island in the River Thames to the bank at Shepperton.

He is listed on the website of the Guildford-based Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) as a music business tutor with more than 20 years' experience in the music industry at a senior level. His work also included directing a national music festival for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

A 21-year-old student, who did not wish to be named, was taught by Mr Lowde at ACM. Paying tribute, he said: "He was an amazing guy. He was a big character on the course.

"I was supposed to have his course today. We were told what happened. It was a big shock. I only saw him a few days ago. He's the sort of guy who takes control of things. He was a well-adjusted family man. A 100% champion. It couldn't have happened to a less deserving guy."

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