Welsh police have confirmed that the body of 44-year-old Gareth Arnold has been found / North Wales Police

Foreign community devastated by death of Axarquía with Ukraine aid group founder

The 44-year-old father of two was integral to helping the Ukrainian refugees who arrived in the area by bus in March

Jennie Rhodes
JENNIE RHODES AXARQUÍA

Tributes have been pouring in from across the Axarquía for Nerja resident Gareth Arnold, whose body was found off Silver Bay in Anglesey, Wales, on Saturday 17 December. The Welsh press reported that Mr Arnold had been missing for several days before a search operation was launched.

A spokesperson for North Wales Police said, "It is with deep sadness that we can confirm that the body of a man was found in the water at Silver Bay, near Rhoscolyn on Saturday afternoon.

"The man has now formally been identified as 44-year-old Gareth Arnold, who we circulated as missing towards the end of last week." The spokesperson confirmed that there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances, and continued: "Our deepest condolences remain with Gareth’s family and friends at this difficult time.

Axarquía with Ukraine

The 44-year-old lived in Nerja with his wife Jacqui and two sons and was one of the founders of the Axarquía with Ukraine group which was set up to support the Ukrainian refugees who came to the Axarquia region in March. He was integral to helping find accommodation for the 54 people who arrived on a bus brought back to the Axarquía from the Polish border and worked tirelessly with his friend Viktor Zolotukhin, a Ukrainian resident who has lived in Nerja for over 20 years and who Gareth had known through their children's school. Gareth's work also included helping with getting the group integrated into Spanish life including the health system, finding local schools and organising donations from local associations including the Nerja 41 Club and Nerja International Club.

Community

Gareth was also involved in the local international and Spanish community as his children attended a local school in Nerja and as a keen cyclist and sportsman, he was also involved in local sports clubs. He has been described by those who knew him in the Axarquía, including Peter MacLeod from the Nerja 41 Club, as "a thoroughly decent family man with great compassion and humanity”.Good friends Hannah and Adrian Stone, who also worked closely with Gareth to help the Ukrainians described him as "a fabulous, energetic guy" and Chloe Gavin, a councillor in Periana who also knew Gareth through the Axarquia with Ukraine group talked of the "amazing work [he did] for the Ukrainian refugees". She added that his death is "a great loss to all who knew him".