Tributes paid to missing Illogan man after body found
TRIBUTES have been paid to a "cheerful, professional, kind and caring person" whose body has been recovered almost three weeks after he went missing.
Derek 'Del' Wilton disappeared on August 15 after suffering months of post-traumatic stress from his work as a paramedic.
His widow Noelle Wilton – known as Nel – said she was glad her husband was now "at peace".
"He had left a note to me and to his GP," she said.
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"It was a note to me about how he was feeling about himself.
"I am devastated that he felt so bad that he has done this but on the other hand I am glad that we found him and that we can look after him properly."
The local coastguards, among them two of his paramedic colleagues, recovered Mr Wilton's body from the Hell's Mouth area on Sunday night.
"It was not the outcome we wanted but it just helps knowing now that he is safe and we can look after him properly," said Mrs Wilton.
"I'm glad that he is now safe and at peace."
Mrs Wilton described the support from friends, family and colleagues as "just amazing".
Cards and messages by text and Facebook – including those from people she did not know – have been flooding in and friends and colleagues have made personal visits.
"Everyone has just been incredible," she said.
One Facebook message from a nurse at Royal Cornwall Hospital, who preferred not to be named, said she could not believe he had gone.
Her message to Mrs Wilton, said: "He was always so professional and always had a smile on his face.
"He was a cheerful, professional, kind and caring person whose face will sorely be missed around the Emergency Department."
Mrs Wilton is now planning a series of fundraising events to buy equipment for the two coastguards at Portreath and St Agnes.
These will include sponsored events around mountain biking and motorcycling, two of her husband's favourite sports.
"I couldn't help with the search but they helped me so much by looking for him," she said.
"And when they found him they gave him such dignity.
"This is my way of helping them."
Mr Wilton was last seen alive at 9.30am on August 15.
An extensive search was carried out after his car was found at Hell's Mouth the following day.
More than 150 people attended a moving candle-lit vigil on Portreath beach on August 23 in his honour.
The 46-year-old Illogan man leaves a brother, sister, parents and wife who live in the local community, along with the many friends whose lives he touched through his work as a fundraiser, life-saver and sports enthusiast.