THE PARENTS of a ‘kind and loving’ travel enthusiast and skilled cameraman have paid tribute to their son after he fell to his death from a balcony in Vietnam.
Matthew Avis, 33, tragically died in Ho Chi Minh City last Monday after completing a 2,000 kilometre biking trip across Vietnam with friends.
Speaking at their home in Rectory Gardens, Worthing, on Tuesday, parents Colin and Maggie, both 60, fondly recalled numerous happy memories of their son.
“Wherever he went, he made friends,” said Mrs Avis.
“He was a very kind and loving guy and really enjoyed life. He was very active and didn’t like standing around.”
The TV cameraman and producer had purchased bikes in Hanoi along with his friends, travelling from the north of the country to southern end in a three week journey.
Mr Avis said: “He picked up a couple of ropey looking bikes and in true Top Gear tradition went all the way down to Ho Chi Minh City, 2,000 kilometres away.
“One of his hobbies was breaking up and repairing bikes and his experience came in very handy, because the bikes they bought in Vietnam were always breaking. His only went about 50 kilometres, before it broke down.”
Having completed the trip, the group checked into a hostel. Mr Avis later fell from the balcony of his room.
It is not known how he came to fall and he died the next day in hospital.
Friends managed to get through to the family through Facebook to break the devastating news.
Mrs Avis said: “You just go numb and I was shaking inside. He was just so far away and it didn’t seem real.
“It is still a shock and I keep expecting him to through the door.”
Born at Southlands Hospital, Mr Avis attended Broadwater CofE and Worthing High schools, before studying at the old Worthing College.
He had two gap years before his first TV job on a shopping channel in Birmingham – after enjoying a stint working at Glastonbury – moving to London shortly afterwards to work for another three shopping channels.
He then went freelance, working as a cameraman around the world. He filmed events such as the World Snooker Championships in Sheffield, tennis tournaments in the United States and badminton in India.
He also spent three years with Big Brother, both in the UK and Canada.
He was frequently moving around, planning to spend Christmas in Canada following a quick trip back to Worthing.
His father added: “He was a very friendly, outgoing chap and he would do anything for anybody.
“He was up for trying new sports and we found out he tried axe throwing in Canada. He threw one backwards and got a bullseye.”
The family has been inundated with cards and letters from around the world, with glowing tributes to their son.
Facebook was also flooded with touching words, when the news was announced.
Sister Coral said: “He was doing what he loved travelling and riding bikes, seeing old friends and making new friends. I’ve had so many lovely messages from his friends.”
Funeral arrangements were not confirmed by the time the Herald went to press.