Family’s heartbreaking plea to bring the body home of an Exmouth ‘gentle giant’ who died overseas

Craig Pearson, 41, died in Thailand. Picture: Karen Smyth

Craig Pearson, 41, died in Thailand. Picture: Karen Smyth - Credit: Karen Smyth

The family of a ‘beautiful and fun-loving’ Exmouth ‘gentle giant’ who died abroad are appealing for help to bring his body home.

Exmouth mum Karen Smyth has been left ‘in pieces’ after hearing the news on Wednesday (November 21) that her son Craig Pearson, 41, had died in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Unable to travel to the Asian country herself to make funeral arrangements, she has been left needing to raise £6,000 to pay for her son to be repatriated and the costs of the Thailand hospital which treated him for what is believed to have been a pulmonary embolism.

So far more than £1,200 has been raised on a JustGiving page in just 14 hours.

Posting on the page, Karen, 59, said Craig was an independent, fun-loving, feisty young man.

She wrote: “I cannot describe the pain; I miss him so much and need to bring him home so that he can rest in peace here with his family, where he belongs.”

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Craig’s sister Penny, who lives in Budleigh Salterton, told The Journal: “He was a gentle giant. He was a very protective big brother.

“It would be amazing for my mum because she’s in pieces at the moment.

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“He loved Thailand but we want to bring him home because that is where he needs to be.”

Former Exmouth Community College pupil Craig, who worked in several pubs and hotels in Exmouth, ‘excelled’ as a chef. He travelled to Thailand five years ago to teach English as an online tutor.

Craig, who grew up in Lympstone, was a member of the village’s amateur boxing club and was Exmouth champion in his younger days.

According to mum Karen, he was a motorbike enthusiast. She wrote: “Craig had a passion for speed and loved the open road.”

The Journal understands he was living in Bangkok at the time of his death but had been visiting Chiang Rai where he died.

He is survived by his two children Erin and Ryan - who live in England – as well as his sister Penny and brothers Joe and David.

The family is asking for donations towards the costs of bringing Craig home instead of gifts, card or flowers.

Anyone who wants to donate, can go to

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