Emotional tributes have been paid to a “larger-than-life” dad who has died while working on an oil rig – just days before he was due home for Christmas.
Much-loved Ben Malloy died suddenly while working offshore in Denmark last Sunday, leaving a huge hole in the lives of his devastated family.
The 25-year-old, who lived in Snowberry Grove, South Shields, with partner Fay Sarson and their two young children, Faith, five, and four-month-old Marcus, was described as a “life-force” and an “adventurer” by his grief-stricken family.
He had been due to return home on leave from his role with global offshore drilling firm Ensco to spend the festive period with his family this week.
Ben’s stepfather, Colin Campbell, says Ben had fulfilled his “ultimate goal” when he embarked on an offshore career last year.
The former St Wilfrid’s RC College pupil’s close-knit family, including mum Carol, 55, and younger brother Dominic, 19, have been left heartbroken by his sudden loss.
He was a very bubbly and confident guy.Colin Campbell
Mr Campbell said: “Ben was like a life-force. He was a very bubbly and confident guy. He was a larger-than-life character and was so popular with everyone.
“It was his ultimate goal to work on an oil rig and he achieved that last year. He was a roustabout in charge of bringing the cargo in for supply. He did 12-hour shifts, worked very hard and was so well thought of by the company.”
He added: “He was always an adventurer.”
After leaving school, Ben tried his hand at a variety of jobs, from working in construction to training to be an asbestos inspector.
Mr Campbell says the family are struggling to come to terms with his death.
Ben’s body has been brought back to South Tyneside ahead of his funeral service on December 30.
Mr Campbell, 62, added: “He would’ve been down for Christmas about now. It is devastating for all of the family.
“I am his stepdad, and I have known him since he was nine and he was very much a son to me.
“There will be hundreds of people wanted to say farewell and celebrate his life at his funeral.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Coroner’s office said they are investigating the tragedy.