Family pay tribute to ferry tragedy dad

A GRIEVING relative last night paid tribute to a Suffolk man killed in the Bahrain pleasure cruiser disaster, describing him as an “excellent dad” and a “dedicated person”.

A GRIEVING relative last night paid tribute to a Suffolk man killed in the Bahrain pleasure cruiser disaster, describing him as an “excellent dad” and a “dedicated person”.

Paul Kenworthy, brother-in-law of Will Nolan, said news of the tragedy had devastated the entire family.

At least 57 people, including 15 Britons, were killed when the vessel capsized in Bahrain after setting sail at 8pm on Thursday night.

Mr Nolan and his wife, Nicola, of Bucklesham Road, Ipswich, were among a group of employees celebrating the completion of part of the Bahrain World Trade Centre project when the tragedy happened.


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Although Mrs Nolan was able to swim to safety, Mr Nolan drowned after being stranded on a lower deck of the boat.

Investigations are continuing to find the cause of the disaster, with the captain of the boat detained for questioning.

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Last night it emerged the vessel carrying the party was not licensed to sail and only had permission to act as a floating restaurant.

Mr Kenworthy said his wife, Louise, Mrs Nolan's sister, had boarded a flight to Bahrain on Friday night. She was joined by Mrs Nolan's daughter, Sarah Jane, and their mother, Molly Gillingwater, of Felixstowe.

Mr Kenworthy, 43, who lives near to the Nolans' Ipswich home, said: “We found out through a phone call in the early hours of Friday morning.

“My wife has gone out there with her mum and Sarah Jane. I spoke to my wife on Saturday morning and they got there OK. There are no plans about how long they will stay out there. Louise is very upset and in shock.”

Mr Kenworthy, who works in the construction industry for a firm in Witham, said although Nicola was physically unharmed, she is still coming to terms with her loss.

He said: “Nicola is as well as can be expected. She hasn't talked about it much. She only said it was pretty horrific. She went up to the top of the boat and Will was down on the bottom deck.”

Born in Wales, Mr Nolan met his wife while working on a construction project in Colchester, where she was working as a nurse.

They married and had two children, Sarah Jane, 18, who is currently at university in London, and David, 16, who is in school in Bahrain. It is understood Mrs Nolan worked as a Kindergarten teacher at her son's school.

The couple moved to the Middle East about ten years ago and have lived in Bahrain for the past three years, after moving from Saudi Arabia.

Mr Kenworthy said they had been very happy there, although they return to Suffolk each summer to spend time with their family.

He said: “They loved it out there and didn't have any plans to come back. We went out at Christmas and we all spent Christmas day together.”

Paying tribute to Mr Nolan, he said: “He was a family man and very hard working. He loved sport, particularly golf, and he was into rugby in his early years. He's a very dedicated person.

“He was an excellent dad who was very much into his family.”

At the time of the tragedy, the 130-strong party on board the boat were celebrating the topping out of the Bahrain World Trade Centre Project, which Mr Nolan had project managed.

Mr Kenworthy said: “The building had reached its highest point and the boat trip was in celebration of reaching that point.

“The project has not been finished and will continue for some time. It's mainly fitting out that has got to be done.”

Mrs Nolan, who was born and brought up in Mill Lane, Felixstowe, is the eldest of three sisters.

Her mother, Molly Gillingwater, 70, a widower, lives in High Road, Felixstowe and has been a member at the Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club for many years.

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