Family of a Gateshead man who died saving his dog thank donors as repatriation campaign tops £13,000

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The family and friends of a man who died while rescuing his dog from a river in Spain have thanked people for their generosity - as their campaign to bring him home reaches over £13,000.

Paul Lebihan, from Leam Lane, drowned on 9 May as he rescued the dog from a waterfall on the Bolulla River, near Benidorm.

His parents are now facing around £20,000 in funeral and transportation costs to bury their son back on Tyneside.

It's money which they say they simply can't afford.

Paul's cousin Kallym Bell set up the fundraising campaign for his "selfless" relative. He said: "He deserves the best send off, he was a positive influence to so many people... he deserves the best we can give him.

"We're all just working to the same goal of laying him to rest where he belongs, back here.

"He grew up here all his family and friends are here... until that's done we cannot rest; we've got to get him home."

Paul was known by many in the Gateshead area, being a keen amateur boxer at Leam Lane Boxing, and forming close bonds with colleagues during his time with the Navy.

His devastated friend Connor Peebles said: "Everyone just wanted to be around him at all times. He's just a massive loss."

"The money raised just shows how much he was loved within the local community, and I know that there's been donations made from all the way round the country.

"It's just an absolutely amazing thing to see, how everyone's just come together for Paul."