COLIN Manvell was a familiar face to many, whether it be tending to flower beds or refereeing a junior tennis tournament.
He was treasurer for the Portsmouth and District Lawn Tennis Association Committee.
Paula Fuge, 46, from Havant, who is secretary of the ladies’ winter league, said: ‘It’s unbelievable – I can’t take it in.
‘It’s not something I would ever have thought of in a million years.
‘He was a really friendly, down-to-earth bloke. Everybody knows Colin.
‘He loved his tennis and would do anything for anybody.
‘He was always taking photographs of people, plants and birds on his travels.’
Mr Manvell was a keen gardener and mowed lawns for several neighbours in Havant.
The secretary of The Avenue said they would like to create a memorial for him at the tennis club.
Mike Colbourne, 66, said: ‘I heard on the radio at 7.30am this morning that a British man had been crushed to death by an elephant.
‘My first thought was “Colin’s in India” – then I thought to myself “no, it can’t be”.
‘It hasn’t quite hit home yet that we won’t see him around here again.
‘We’re really going to miss him – he had so much knowledge about how to run this club. He would tend to all the gardening, flower beds and hanging baskets most days so it’s going to leave a big gap.
‘He loved his photography and nature and used to produce calendars which some of the members would buy. But he was a permanent fixture here as he would call in nearly every day so, once we’ve spoken to the family, we’d love to make a memorial for him.’
Neighbour Richard Acton, 49, said he used to be taught geography by Mr Manvell.
He said: ‘He had a wonderful rapport with former students and would often attend reunions. My kids would often kick balls over the fence and he’d always laugh and give them back. They’re going to be so upset.’