Kesgrave/Madagascar: Mum pays tribute to scientist son killed in freak accident

THE mother of a young scientist who died in a freak accident in Madagascar has spoken about his love for his job.

Marine biologist Nick Paige, of Codicote in Hertfordshire, was killed when an overhanging cliff collapsed while he was enjoying a beach camp-fire party with colleagues.

Nick was working in the fishing village of Andavadoaka on the south west coast of the African island for marine conservation company Blue Ventures.

The 24-year-old and a French colleague were crushed in the accident, which happened at around 11pm on Saturday. They are believed to have died instantly.

Nick’s mother, Suzanne Paige, 61, who now lives in Kesgrave, said: “Nick was doing research work on fishing and coral reefs.

“He absolutely loved it. He’d just extended his contract and taken on extra responsibilities. Blue Ventures were so pleased with his work.”

Nick had been working in Madagascar since February as a field scientist conducting research into conservation and sustainable fishing for villagers and he also looked after the groups of volunteers who came out to work in the country.

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“He loved the people he was working with and the villagers,” Mrs Paige said. “He’s always been a water baby, he’s done fishing, sailing, surfing, snorkelling and diving.

“He’d even done the first part of a commercial diving course in Scotland so he could lead the volunteers out on dives.”

Mrs Paige retired and moved to Kesgrave in October 2011, to be nearer to her daughter Catherine, who now lives in Barham, and to care for her elderly mother.

Nick, who would have been 25 in January, and his sister were both born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, and went to Monk’s Walk School, where Nick also worked when he was not abroad.

“He was a very outdoor person, Mrs Paige said. “I couldn’t see him working in a office at all at this stage of his life.

“I miss him terribly, we all do.

“He said, ‘you know mum, I like being out in the field’. You’ve got to allow them to go, you can’t hold children back.

“It was a very freak and unfortunate accident.”

The family are hoping Nick will be repatriated by the end of the week, although it’s yet to be confirmed.

He will be cremated and buried in Codicote in Hertfordshire.