Wallasey man dies in balloon tragedy

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Joe Bampton © Facebook

Joe Bampton © Facebook

Tributes have been paid to Wallasey artist Joe Bampton who tragically died in the hot air balloon accident whilst on holiday in Egypt this week.

The 40-year-old, who grew up on the Wirral, was a sculptor and photographer and was on vacation with partner and fellow artist Zsi Chimera, who also sadly died.

The former St. Mary’s College pupil had moved to London to study at the Slade School of fine art, where he lived at the time of the accident. He had his work showcased in major cities such as London, Paris, Berlin and Liverpoo,l and worked at Lots Road Auctions in Chelsea with Miss Chimera.

He was widely known in Merseyside amongst the art community.

Nic Corke, owner of the Corke Art Gallery, in Aigburth Road, told the Liverpool Echo:  “He will be greatly missed in the creative community in Liverpool. His work was thoughtful and challenging, it was creative and there was always something more behind it.

“It is a real shock – he was a really nice man.”

A total of 19 people died and only two survived after the hot air balloon exploded, causing a large fire when travelling 1,000 ft. near Luxor, Egypt. The four Britons involved in the incident were all travelling with company Thomas Cook.

Joe’s mother, Maureen Bampton who is director at the Bluecoat Display Centre, said: “My son and Zsi were wonderfully creative and sensitive individuals who lived life to the full and enjoyed being in Clapham Common with their dog Ollie.

“Joe and Zsi will be sadly missed by their families, and work colleagues and their many, many good friends.”

All balloon flights have been halted by the Egyptian Authorities while the crash is investigated.

About Rachael Bentham, JMU Journalism