TRIBUTES have been paid to a Poole ambulance technician and “inspirational family man” who died suddenly just days after his colleague Dai Rees was killed in a tragic diving accident .

Paul Smith, pictured, died of a heart attack on Monday and devastated family, friends and colleagues – as well as many people who had been helped by Paul during his many years in the service – took to Facebook to express their condolences.

Among them were former colleagues from local first aid training firm In Case of Emergency. Carl Draper said: “Paul blessed everyone with his presence, made everyone laugh and was an inspirational family man!”

Mr Smith, an advanced ambulance technician, was born in Poole and attended Oakdale Middle School and Poole High School.

He lived with his wife of 19 years Claire Smith and their children Thomas, Robert and Abbie.

Ken Wenman, chief executive of South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Tragically Paul suffered a heart attack and passed away despite the best efforts of his colleagues who tried to help him.

“Paul was a well-liked and respected member of staff and on behalf of the trust I would like to offer my condolences to his family, friends and work colleagues.”

Among those who posted on Facebook how Mr Smith had helped them was school friend Tracey Savory, of Poole, who said: “I had the pleasure of bumping into Paul when he was called out to take my amazing Mum into hospital, last November. She was dying of cancer and he was amazing. So professional and yet so personal.”

Ambulance driver Charlie Watkinson posted: “He was a great technician and he was great with patients... even ones that were pain in the me x.”

Sarah Read, from Bournemouth, posted: “One of my favourite paramedics.... always had a smile on his face, and was always happy to help xx.”

Poole paramedic Dai Rees, 30, died on March 16 while on a charity mission in the Maldives to help the islands’ emergency medical services.