The partner of a Jarrow man who lost his life after getting into difficulty in the sea while on a family holiday in Spain has paid tribute to the “hard-working family man”.
Carl Dunlop, of Monkton, Jarrow, drowned off the coast of Salou on Tuesday.
The 48-year-old dad-of-one was on holiday with his partner, Joy Potts, and her 12-year-old daughter, Bethany when tragedy struck.
Carl, a bus driver for Stagecoach, and Bethany were swimming in the sea when they got into difficulty.
Today, Joy, 37, paid tribute to the “hard-working family man” she was hoping to marry one day after.
She said: “I’d been working at Stagecoach with Carl for two years before we got together.
We’d talked about getting married and I really hoped that we would one day soon.Joy Potts
“We’d always chatted and said hello but I was a little shy at work.
“After a while, we got chatting on Facebook and then one day he stopped me on the way out of the depot to say I had a light out on my car and I asked if he’d like to come over for a drink sometime.
“We knew straight away that there was something between us and he moved in a couple of months later.
“I was a single mam so it was important to me to find someone who would look after Bethany as if she were his own and that was Carl.
“Bethany always says that she thinks of Carl as a dad and that he’s the best dad she could have wished for.
“We’d talked about getting married and I really hoped that we would one day soon.”
Joy was in a relationship with Carl for three years and says he was a hard-working man who didn’t know what to do with a day off work.
She said: “He was always a hard worker. Whenever he had a day off he used to be disappointed if they didn’t ring him with some overtime.
“He was a bit of a practical joker and he always made me laugh. Whenever he found a spider or a frog in the garden he would get it in his hand and chase me and Bethany round the house with it to terrify us.
“He always called me the ‘safety inspector’ and said I took the fun out of it because I was the sensible one.
“He really loved his cars and motorbikes as well. He had a Skoda Fabia and he was constantly cleaning and polishing it.”
She added: “I’ve had some support from the union at work and they’ve been brilliant. My mam, Joy Workman, and her partner, Albie Davison, have flown over to be here with us and the hotel we’re staying at, Villa Romana in Salou, have been brilliant.
“They’ve put my mam and Albie up for free and done all they can to help us when we’ve needed an interpreter.
“Carl was just such a brilliant man. This has all been a massive shock.”