Bristol family 'heartbroken' after father-of-two dies while on holiday in Devon

credit: BPM Media
Mr Channelle was due to marry his fiancée Nicole in December and they have known each other since childhood Credit: BPM Media

A family from Bristol has been left 'heartbroken' after a father-of-two died suddenly while on holiday in Devon.

Rob Channelle, from Southmead in Bristol, was with his fiancée and their two young children in Woolacombe, Devon, when he was found dead in bed on May 1.

The 34-year-old is survived by his partner, Nicole Symmonds, and two sons, Theo, two, and 11-month-old Jacob.

Family friend, Keela Wachon, said: "Everything at the moment is just shattered for her really, just completely shattered."

Mr Channelle suffered from serious health difficulties, battling two cancers which left him blind due to complications from surgery.

He also had an infection in his head, which left him with a sizeable hole requiring more operations. 

Rob was due to marry his fiancée in December and they had known each other since childhood. Keela said Nicole has been struggling since his death.

Keela said: "It's just one thing on top of another. Little things will just remind her, start her off."

Keela described Mr Channelle as a "brilliant dad" and a "down to earth" person who is sorely missed.

She added: "You would always know that he was there, he had a big presence. Everyone knew about it if Rob was there, he was a brilliant bloke.

"He did as much as he could do for the boys. I think Nicole is also a fantastic mother, she's amazing. That was her life, it was his life. Their life was each other."

Because Mr Channelle died before his wedding, Nicole is not entitled to Bereavement Support Payments, despite being in a relationship for 11 years.

Bereavement payments are available to those whose husband, wife or civil partner has died within the past 21 months. It sees a one-off payment of between £2,500 and £3,500 given followed by monthly payments of either £100 or £300.

Keela said Nicole is now fighting to get the "old fashioned, archaic" law changed.

A fundraiser has been set up on behalf of Nicole and the children to support them and help them to cover Mr Channelle's funeral costs and it has already raised almost £5,000 thanks to more than 50 donations.