Outpouring of tributes as ‘charismatic’ 47-year-old dies in Alps holiday tragedy
- Credit: Archant
Heartfelt tributes have been paid after the “unimaginable loss” of a charismatic and larger than life 47-year-old father who tragically died while on holiday in the Alps.
Ipswich born and bred Greg Kingston was said to have “lived life to the full” and had become a “true friend” to colleagues during a long career at Curtis Banks, based in Princes Street.
Having studied a HND business and languages at the University of Salford, the former Ipswich School pupil returned to Suffolk to work for Maersk - finishing with a posting in Guinea before meeting his future wife, Kat.
After working in marketing and public relations at computer firm Egosoft, he moved to pensions firm Suffolk Life - now Curtis Banks - in 2007 and became group communications director in 2017.
The “doting husband”, who was also a “proud father” to son William, died when he was hit by a car while walking back to his hotel during a holiday to the Alps on July 25. He had been touring the mountain region on a motorbike with a friend.
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On their last day together, Greg and his wife had talked about the dream of touring Europe in a motorhome.
A fundraising page set up in Greg’s memory, which has so far raised more than £4,000 for Parkinson’s UK and SERV blood bikes, says: “When Greg died in France on July 25, we all lost a part of ourselves.
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“He was a larger than life character that had time for everyone he met.
“His loss is unimaginable and there has been an outpouring of grief with many friends and colleagues wanting to send tributes, cards and flowers.”
Kat said: “Something I didn’t appreciate until I saw some of the tributes was that a lot of people really respected him within the wider industry.
“He was principled and a good person, someone you could talk to.”
The pair - who shared a passion for Formula One motor racing and travelled to several Grand Prix abroad - met in 2002, regularly enjoying nights out at Ipswich’s Old Orleans American restaurant before its closure in 2011.
The couple got engaged in May 2013, when Greg whisked his future wife away to Amalfi, in Italy, to propose during dinner at a restaurant – even if the crucial moment was, amusingly, interrupted by a waiter asking for the bill to be paid.
They married at Kersey Mill in June 2015 and went on honeymoon to Dubrovnik. They had celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary during the coronavirus lockdown.
“He’d always take me off on surprise trips,” said Kat.
“He loved travelling and, on our last day together, one of the last things he mentioned was getting a motorhome and touring Europe together.
“He was incredibly affectionate and caring, and wanted to do the right thing for people.
“He was incredibly funny, with a dark sense of humour. He was a good listener and fun to be around.
“He loved to cook and was the head chef at Christmas. Christmas is going to be really difficult this year.
“There is complete shock and disbelief that someone so nice has been taken away.”
Will Self, chief executive of Curtis Banks, said in the company’s 2020 interim report: “I would like to pay tribute to Greg Kingston, who very sadly passed away recently.
“Greg had joined Suffolk Life in 2007 and made a huge contribution to the full integration of the Curtis Banks Group brand and proposition.
“He was a true friend to many of us and a charismatic colleague to us all.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, to whom we express our deepest sympathy.”
Even though coronavirus restrictions meant only limited numbers could attend Greg’s funeral, a large number of colleagues stood - socially distanced - outside Curtis Banks’ Princes Street offices to see his funeral procession go past.
Instead of flowers, well-wishers are asked to make donations to the Virgin Money Giving page set up in his memory.
“Greg lived life to the full, his memory will live on and should be remembered fondly, we can never replace him in our lives but we can make him proud,” the page reads.
People can donate here.