HUNDREDS of tributes have been paid to a “true gentleman” and keen runner who was killed in a tragic accident in Dubai, aged just 29.
Gav Duffy flew out to the Middle East on Thursday last week to visit one of his best friends, but was killed when he was hit by a car the following day.
The devastating news filtered through back home over the weekend and hundreds of those who had the pleasure of knowing Gav left touching tributes on his Facebook page.
Because Gav didn’t have travel insurance for his trip to Dubai his heartbroken family launched a fundraising page on Sunday to raise £5,000 to get his body back home and laid to rest as quickly as possible.
And the sheer measure of his popularity was demonstrated as more than £13,000 has already been raised.
His devastated brother James Duffy wrote on Gav’s Facebook page: “Gav, reading all the amazing tributes to you is heartbreaking because everyone of them sums you up perfect.
“The same words come up time and again to describe you, gentleman, inspiration, genuine, to me these are the most commendable qualities you can possess.
“You appreciated any little thing someone did for you and you would do anything for anyone.
“Your sense of humour was second to none so we never stopped laughing.
“I could say a million more things about you but it’s too hard to write.
“I have the most special memories to treasure because we have done everything together growing up. You were my brother, my best friend and my hero. Love you forever bro.”
Gav, who lived in Billingham and worked as a quantity surveyor at Interserve Project Services, was also one of the fastest members of Billingham Marsh House Harriers, with an impressive 10k personal best of 33 minutes and 36 seconds, set at the Leeds Abbey Dash just five days before tragedy struck.
Billingham Marsh House Harriers paid tribute to Gav by holding a minute’s silence ahead of the Winter 5k Trail Run at Cowpen Bewley on Sunday, which is now going to be renamed in Gav’s memory.
And Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers expressed their sadness at hearing the news in a post on Billingham Marsh House’s Facebook page.
Burn Road Harrier Jane Wistow wrote: “Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers are in shock to hear about the passing of Gavin. A great athlete who was well respected and admired by Burn Roaders.
“Our thoughts are with you all and his family. God bless.”
His friends and runners he had competed with and against took to his Facebook page to pay tribute.
Paul Matson wrote: “Make room in the VIP room in heaven because this boy is special.”
Stephen McMahon said: “I will never forget the great memories we have had together.
“Don’t you worry Gav, I will continue the running but it will be harder now without having you in my ear to keep me going.”
Rachel Claire Mulloy wrote: “Words cannot describe the pain we feel after the tragic loss of our true friend.
“We are lucky to have known such an inspirational, kind, funny person who had time for anyone. Our lives will never be the same again.”
Craig Pinder said: “A bad day for anyone who knew such an amazing lad, but I’m just glad I was lucky enough to know you mate.
“You will be missed but never forgotten. Sleep tight Gav lad.”
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office confirmed to the Mail: “We were made aware of the death of a British national, on November 22 in Dubai.
“We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time.”
To donate to the fund to get Gav back home and laid to rest go to www.gofundme.com/5ggguc.