Girlfriend pays tribute to kitesurfer who died in Saunton

Ben Witts

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Paul Keppel Photography

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Cheylee Howson said Ben Witts was “everything I’ve ever dreamed of”

The girlfriend of a kitesurfer who died in strong winds has said she is “absolutely devastated” by his death.

Ben Witts was kitesurfing at Saunton Sands near Bideford in north Devon on Saturday when he was fatally injured.

His girlfriend Cheylee Howson, who said she pulled Mr Witts from the sea, thanked people who had “rushed to help me”.

Mr Witts was an experienced instructor and owner of Saunton-based North Devon Kitesurfing.

He was pulled from the sea at about 11:00 GMT and taken to North Devon District Hospital by air ambulance, but was confirmed dead later.

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Cheylee Howson

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Ms Howson paid tribute to Mr Witts in a post online

Writing on Facebook, Ms Howson said: “I did everything I could to pull him out of the water and help him before the paramedics arrived.

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the amazing people on Saunton beach who rushed to help me.”

She said that Mr Witts was “everything I’ve ever dreamed of and what we had was incredible”.

“Nothing will ever be the same without you here… and knowing I’m never going to be in your arms again hurts like nothing I can explain,” Ms Howson added.

Mr Witts had been kitesurfing for about five years, according to friends.

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Paul Keppel Photography

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Ben Witts ‘lived for the sport” said a friend

Phil Parry of West Kiteboarding, said his “thoughts are with his family” and Mr Witts would be “sadly missed”.

“He lived for the sport and it had always been his dream to have a kitesurfing school,” Mr Parry said.

“He had achieved that and he was very excited about the season and pushing his business.”

Angela Calver said his death was “tragic news” and Mr Witts was a “such a lovely person”.

Police have handed a file to the coroner.

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