RYAN Probert has been described as a “mechanical genius” with a zest for life by his family, who say he will be sadly missed in Cinderford.
The 31-year-old qualified DAF technician from Oak Field will be remembered as a cheeky boy who loved nothing more than cooking steaks over a campfire when he was not fixing lorries.
He died of a suspected heart attack after being airlifted to Frenchay Hospital near Bristol on Tuesday April 29.
Ryan’s father Trevor, 60, said he is proud of his son’s achievements after he was told he would not succeed due to a lack of academic qualifications.
Haulier Mr Probert said: “When I was holding his hands at Frenchay I thought when he had a spanner in them, they were the most useful hands you could have.”
Mr Probert said Ryan was a “central plank” in his haulage business for Hope Construction Materials but was temporarily off work due to foot and stomach problems.
Ryan is survived by his two boys, Callum, six, and Finlay, four, brothers Wesley, 27, Gavin 25, his father and mum Beverley, 51, and Zia Martin, 32, the mother to his children. His mother said their eldest son had a “wonderful relationship” with his gran Louise Cresswell, 74.
Not only did he love fixing and tinkering with cars and lorries, he also had a love of motorbikes and building sidecars. Mrs Probert said: “Ryan always had to be going at top speed, even as a young boy.
“He was very energetic, could not sit still and was very hard to keep up with. And he was very gifted when it came to vehicles – he knew his stuff.”
His family said he loved cooking and would often buy fresh fish – including live lobsters – which he would prepare himself.
They also recalled a number of occasions which earned him a reputation for being cheeky, including asking an Indian take away to pick up a four-pack of beer or cider for him when they delivered him meals. His family said the fact they have received 104 sympathy cards was a “measure of his popularity”.
During heavy snow and at a time when he owned a Land Rover, he charged people £5 a time to be towed up the hill to Cinderford.
And the floods of 2007 did not deter him from getting to work at Watts Truck and Van Centre as he swam through eight feet of under the railway bridge in St Oswald’s Road.
During Ryan’s younger days his parents said they would not allow him to go to Glastonbury Festival, but he had other ideas.
Mr Probert said: “He made a grappling hook out of u-bolts, scaled a fence and he got in there, but it took him 24 hours to find his friends and we were quietly impressed.”
His funeral will not be held until an inquest has opened, which is expected to be this week, but his family said an old Austin flatbed truck will carry his coffin and Pink Floyd’s Shine on You Crazy Diamond will be played in reflection of his personality.