The heartbroken mum of a backpacker who died in the Italian Alps has paid tribute to him.
Keaton Emery, 23, from Adlington, never returned from a hike through the mountains near Lake Como, where he was doing volunteer work at a sailing school.
Search and rescue teams spent three days looking for him after he went missing on Thursday, September 7.
They eventually recovered a body from a crag at the bottom of a 60ft drop close to the summit of the 1,700 metre high Legnoncino mountain on Sunday.
Keaton’s mum, Denise Emery, who runs Emery Planning Consultancy in Macclesfield with husband Peter, described him as a ‘very special’ person.
She said: “Keaton was a very special person not only to us as his parents but to all who knew him for no matter how long or short a period. He had an enquiring and brilliant mind, the ability to put anyone at ease and was unfailingly kind and considerate.
“He thought the best in everyone and wanted to help make the world a better place.
“He described himself in his profile for “workaway” as an adventurous and easy going person who didn’t want to tread a conventional path through life.
“He wanted to find new ways of living and working and wanted to meet people who shared similar goals. He loved meeting new people experiencing how they live and discovering their stories.
“He was a curious person who wanted to enjoy life and have a laugh.”
Keaton was three months into an epic around the world journey without using a plane.
Armed only with a backpack and a hammock he set off from his home on his bike in March and cycled all the way to Plymouth where he caught a ferry to France.
He then cycled to Spain and hitchhiked to Italy taking buses and trains along the way.
In July he spent two days with his parents in Fuengirola, Spain, before heading to France and on to Lake Como in Northern Italy where he tragically lost his life.
His proud mum Denise added that they now plan to set up a charity for disadvantaged children in Keaton’s name.
Keaton, who was a former pupil at Cheadle Hulme School, studied politics and economics at the University of Nottingham and was considering starting a masters degree. He also worked at Vanilla in All Seasons caterers, based in Congleton.
A capable outdoorsman, he loved hiking, sailing, camping, rock climbing and dreamed of one day owning his own boat.
Speaking on what would have been Keaton’s 24th birthday, his best friend Jill Paton also paid tribute.
Describing him as a ‘true philosopher’ she said Keaton gave her the confidence to love herself and had ‘an incredible heart filled with kindness’.
“His instinct was always to befriend and help people and he never thought twice about offering his help to anyone, stranger or friend,” she said.
“The world is a much duller place without Keaton.”
Jill, from Denton, added: “He taught us all a lesson in following your dreams, no matter how many people tell you that you can’t,” she added.
His close friend Will Roylance added: “He wanted to meet as many people as he could and if you were lucky enough to meet him you know just how genuinely lovely a person he was. He was a brother to me and he always will be. I didn’t get to tell him enough how he made my life better. I loved him. Make sure you cherish those you love.”
A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are in touch with Italian authorities following the death of a British national in Colico and are providing assistance to his family.”