'He was loved by absolutely everyone' - tributes paid to Steven Griffiths, 21, who died while travelling
PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 July 2017
A much-loved 21-year-old Weston-super-Mare chef who was 'finding his way in life' drowned in an accident while he was travelling in Asia, prompting an £8,000 fundraising campaign to bring his body back to the country.
Steven Griffiths had been working at a restaurant and bar in Kampot in southern Cambodia when he went out on the river in a rubber ring towards the end of last week, an activity many tourists take part in.
He was pulled under the water by the strong current, caused by heavy rainfall, and friends were unable to reach him in time.
Steven’s dad, also called Steve, said his son left behind devastated parents and six brothers and sisters.
He told the Mercury: “He was finding his way in life. He made friends with everyone he met.
“He was at his happiest when in Cambodia and Thailand.
“He was a fussy eater and the minute he got out there he was eating tarantulas and cockroaches. He loved it.”
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to raise the £8,000 needed to bring his body back to the UK, and is close to reaching its target.
Best friend Jimmy Bradshaw met Steven when they worked together at The Imperial, in South Parade.
They went travelling to Thailand and Cambodia together, and Jimmy, who returned home for a short time, had planned to meet him back out there.
Jimmy said: “He was loved by absolutely everyone. It is too young for someone to be taken.
“It’s tragic. My heart goes out to his family. I loved him to bits.”
A fundraising event will take place at The Imperial on Friday, starting at 7pm, and there will be live music and a raffle.
Former boss at the Imperial James Willis-Boden described Steven as a ‘respectful’ man who went from being an apprentice to head chef in a year during his time at the pub.
He said: “He was very intelligent and loved a good debate.”
Steven’s dad added how he ran the Imperial kitchen for a number of weeks and got ‘phenomenal feedback’.
He said: “He really enjoyed working in the kitchen.”
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said it was offering support to Steven’s family and was in contact with the Cambodian authorities.
Anyone who would like to offer raffle prizes can take them along to The Imperial ahead of the event.
Artist Martin D’Arcy has donated some limited edition prints, and Eleazar King will perform.
The Go Fund Me page can be found at www.gofundme.com/support-our-beloved-steves-family