Shock holiday death of Suffolk chef

THE devastated parents of a Suffolk chef who drowned while swimming late at night on holiday have spoken of their grief.

Laurence Cawley

THE devastated parents of a Suffolk chef who drowned while swimming late at night on holiday have spoken of their grief.

Mark Porter, 29, of Haverhill, drowned along with Michelle Clydesdale, 24, after they met on a night out on holiday in the Spanish resort of Salou.

The pair went into the sea for a midnight swim. But after being reportedly struck by 'freak waves' and battered against rocks, both were washed up dead at 2.30am on Wednesday morning. Miss Clydesdale was the sister of Dunblane massacre victim Victoria Clydesdale.

Mr Porter's father Bill Porter, 55, and his wife Polly, also 55, spoke after learning their son had died from one of his friends who had tried in vain to pull him from the water.

Mrs Porter, an administrator, said Mark was her only son.

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She added how she had taken a phone call from Mark's housemate and best friend Lewis Rice, 24, at 3.30am on Wednesday, to tell her what had happened.

She said: “His best friend rang me and I immediately knew something was wrong. He couldn't speak on the other end of the phone and all he said was 'I can't tell you, I can't say the words'.

“He told me Mark was dead. I broke down in tears and I just cannot believe he's gone - he was the best son anyone could ever ask for.

“He really valued his friends, he worked hard and he played hard. He was intelligent, funny and so loved by so many.”

His father, a logistics manager, said his 6ft tall, 18st son who worked at The Bell Pub in Haverhill, was a real character and a popular member of his pub pool team.

He added: “He would fill a room with laughter and fun and he was also a huge Arsenal fan - football was his real passion.”

The pair, who are already planning his funeral, said they were banning black ties and everybody would have to attend wearing their football shirts.

The pub chef had been on holiday in Salou after flying out with three friends from Luton airport on a Thomas Cook package deal last Friday.

Mark was with his life-long friends, factory worker Lewis Rice, 24, publican Ian Farrant, 32, and restaurant manager Mark Smith, 25.

Jemma Mansfield, 22, the mother of Mark's godchild Kaci (corr), aged two, said he was a wonderful man and much loved member of the local community.

She added: “He was a dedicated godfather and a wonderful friend to so many people. Everyone is going to miss him so much. He was irreplaceable and will leave a massive hole in all our lives.”