Respects paid to Southsea man who died aged 21

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THE life of a young man who died in a harbour tragedy was celebrated at a poignant church service in Havant.

Around 200 people gathered at the United Reformed Church, a place where Paul Monk had grown up and attended many services.

As reported, the 21-year-old was found dead in Langstone Harbour on March 21. An inquest will determine the circumstances of his death.

The Reverend Harry Lanham, church minister, yesterday described Paul as a diligent young man who loved to laugh.

He said: ‘He was not one to shy away from risk. He was impulsive by nature, always prepared to give it a go.’

Paul’s father Andy, mother Linda and brother Alan, of Chidham Close, Havant, all gave readings and Alan led several hymns by playing the recorder.

Preacher Dorothy Wayer said: ‘Andy remembers fondly teaching him to play draughts, chess and to win.

‘Andy taught him to ride a bike and they took long rides together and had an amazing ride from Emsworth and on to Bognor.’

The service heard how Paul, who moved to Portsmouth two years ago, was talented in many areas, including table tennis, playing the recorder and photography.

Mrs Wayer added: ‘Linda’s heartfelt memory is that Paul was truly a gift from God.’

She said that losing Paul had left a ‘gaping hole’ in his brother’s heart.

But, in the words of Alan, she added: ‘But I know, some day, many years away, we will be back together and share good times again.’

Clifford Smith, who leads the walking group at the church, said: ‘I was delighted that Paul achieved 10 subjects at his GCSE exams and two subjects at A-level. I will always remember him.’

The service was rounded off with uplifting hymns in which the congregation clapped. The words of the final vesper were ‘peace to you, we bless you now’.

The service followed a private cremation.