Briton who died on SIA flight hit by turbulence was looking forward to ‘last big holiday’ with wife

Geoffrey Kitchen was an avid music lover and well-loved by his local community. - PHOTOS: REUTERS, GEOFF.KITCHEN.75/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): The 73-year-old Briton that died on the turbulence-hit Singapore Airlines flight on May 21 was a beloved member of his local community who was headed for a “last big holiday” with his wife.

A retired insurance professional and musical theatre director, Mr Geoffrey Kitchen, and his wife were stopping over in Singapore en route to Australia for a six-week holiday that would also take them to Japan and Indonesia.

The couple were on board Flight SQ321, which experienced severe turbulence about 10 hours after it left London. Passengers and crew were thrown about the cabin, leaving many injured, some severely.

Mr Kitchen is suspected to have died of a heart attack.

He lived in Thornbury, near Bristol in south-west England, and had a son and daughter, according to British news outlet The Guardian.

His daughter, Ms Anna Proctor, described her father as an “extremely kind, loving and gentle man”.

Speaking to The Telegraph news outlet, Ms Proctor said: “He had years ahead of him and obviously we are completely devastated... He was a legend.”

His cousin, Mr Stephen Kitchen, told The Independent that the couple had been looking forward to their big holiday together.

“They are travellers; they do quite a lot of these things, quite adventurous,” he said. “It was sort of going to be their last big holiday. It would have been nice to see them before they went. It was a tour around Asia.”

He added that he was shocked by the incident and still trying to contact his cousin’s widow, who was also taken to hospital after the plane diverted to Bangkok.

Mr Kitchen said he had fond memories of his cousin and would remember their shared love for music.

“He was very popular in the Thornbury musical group, just a lovely guy,” he said.

The late Mr Kitchen founded the Thornbury Musical Theatre Group and spent over 35 years helping to run the group, The Guardian reported.

The group took to Facebook on May 21 (May 22, Singapore time) to pay tribute to Mr Kitchen, describing the loss of their “esteemed colleague and friend” as devastating.

“Geoff was always a gentleman with the utmost honesty and integrity and always did what was right for the group,” the post said, adding that his commitment to the group was “unquestionable”.

Mr Kitchen had performed in a Dick Whittington pantomime last Christmas and recently campaigned for the re-opening of Armstrong Hall in Thornbury, which had previously been used for theatre productions.

His neighbour and fellow theatre group member, Mr Steve Dimond, told The Independent that Mr Kitchen had most recently been helping the group with preparations for its upcoming show, Journey Back To The Future.

Mr Dimond, who has known Mr Kitchen for 11 years and would often go on walks with him and their wives, said: “We will continue with the next show, which will likely be done in his name.

“I’m really shocked, he’ll be badly missed. He was a kind man who, in recent years, after retirement, had loved the musical theatre.”

His wife, Ms Jill Dimond, who was also a close friend of Mr Kitchen, said: “He was a well-loved man. He was clever, funny, a fantastic performer, deeply caring about theatre. It was his passion.” - The Straits Times/ANN

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