A SOMERSET man who achieved his lifelong ambition of being an airline pilot has died along with his partner and two of her family members in a car crash in Gran Canaria.
Richard Addicott, 31, and his partner Rita García Bolaños were on holiday in Gran Canaria and had just enjoyed a meal with her father Ivan and sister Marta shortly before tragedy struck.
The four before the tragic crash
All four are believed to have died instantly after their car crashed through a barrier and plunged 245 feet down a ravine in atrocious weather conditions on December 8.
Their bodies were not found until two days later after the wreckage was spotted by a road maintenance worker.
He won a scholarship to Wellington School, where he played rugby for the school and was in the elite Somerset squad as a sprinter.
He obtained a degree in air transport and pilot training from Buckingham University.
Richard’s body has been repatriated and his funeral was held at Taunton Deane Crematorium before Christmas.
The service was attended by his cat Catty. More than £3,000 was donated in Richard’s memory for the cat rescue centre in Gran Canaria where Catty came from.
His grief stricken parents Paul and Wendy live in North Petherton, while Richard also leaves a twin brother Daniel and sisters Becky and Liz.
Richard, who had been furloughed by Norwegian Air, and Rita were living in Redhill at the time of their death.
Richard and Rita in Gran Canaria
Paul said: “Richard was very outgoing, sociable, kind and well thought of. He would help anybody
“He was dedicated to his job. He’d wanted to be a pilot since he was three.
“He’d achieved his ambition and had all of his life in front of him.”
Richard and Rita and her father and sister had been visiting her grandmother in Artenara before driving back to Las Palmas in fog and rain.
Villagers held three days of mourning following the tragedy.
Richard and Rita relaxing
Richard’s family have been overwhelmed by the number of tributes to him.
Judit, a friend from Gran Canaria described Richard and Rita as “wonderful people”.
Richard’s schoolfriend Stephanie said: “Rich was always a friendly face for me at school, always kind and always so easy to be with.”
Work colleague Henrik said: “He was a fantastic pilot, but the thing I remember Rich as is a gentle and funny person.”
Another colleague, Marco, said: “He was an incredibly brilliant guy, an amazing pilot and a person you could always count on. He’ll be terribly missed.”
Teacher Dan Millington said: “There are so many at Wellington School who remember Richard with great fondness.”