Tributes paid to Scot who died ‘rescuing grandsons’ from the sea in Crete

Jonathan Smith, 61, has been praised for his bravery.

Beach on Crete
Beach on Crete

Tributes have been paid to a man who died after reportedly saving his two grandsons from the sea while on holiday in Crete.

Jonathan Smith is understood to have got into difficulty after rescuing his grandsons, aged seven and 10, from rough waters near Gouves on the Greek island on Tuesday and pushing them on to rocks.

Local website Cretapost reported that local people threw life saving aids to the trio and tried to pull Mr Smith ashore but the currents were too strong and the coastguard was called.

Mr Smith’s son David, 34, praised his father for his bravery.

He told The Scottish Sun: “I loved my dad very much. He is my hero. I still can’t believe I’m never going to see him again after he left to go on his holidays.

“To be brutally honest I’ve struggled to ask my family the full story – I can’t face talking about it with them, especially when they are still over there. We’re just trying to get my dad home and have been speaking to the consulate. It’s an unexpected tragedy.”

Mr Smith, 61, from Carluke in South Lanarkshire, worked for North Lanarkshire Council for 34 years and was central in developing its Syrian Resettlement Programme.

Des Murray, chief executive of North Lanarkshire Council, said: “The news about Jonathan has been a terrible shock to everyone who knew and worked with him at the council and beyond over many years.

“Jonathan was held in the highest regard, and the work he did to forge long-lasting links and friendships with communities and partners across North Lanarkshire is testament to the passion and tireless dedication he gave to everything he did.

“Jonathan was central in developing our Syrian Resettlement Programme in 2015, which has assisted a number of families who have fled ongoing conflict and provided a safe and secure future for them.

“He was also pivotal in community engagement and participation, maintaining relationships with many of our local community groups and addressing local needs.

“He was a wonderful, kind and considerate family man, who will be deeply missed and all our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Central Scotland Conservative MSP Meghan Gallacher wrote on Facebook: “This is really sad news.

“Jonathan worked alongside local communities and Councillors during his time at North Lanarkshire Council.

“Thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who died in Crete and are in contact with the Greek authorities.”

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