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Tributes to tragic Liversedge kayaker
Tributes have been paid to a kayaker from Liversedge who died after being plucked from a swollen river in the Yorkshire Dales on Sunday.
Matthew Baird-Parker, 36, who got into difficulties in Arkle Beck, near Reeth, lived for his sport, his family said.
Firefighters and mountain rescue volunteers freed Mr Baird-Parker after his kayak became trapped in debris.
He was airlifted to hospital but pronounced dead.
Mr Baird-Parker had worked at Robin Hood Watersports, in Leeds Road, Heckmondwike, since last September as a kayaking salesman.
His boss, Richard Findlow, said Mr Baird-Parker was “fanatical” about the sport.
Mr Baird-Parker’s father, Stephen, said: "Matthew was a very active and committed person and anything he did, he did to his full extent.
"If there was a way you could wish to die, then he would have wanted to die doing this. He was exceptionally good at it and it is all he wanted to do."
The alarm was raised when Mr Baird-Parker, whose family is from Kidderminster, Worcestershire, got into difficulty as he kayaked with two friends on the beck, which is also known as the River Arkle.
A major rescue operation was launched and specially-trained firefighters went into the fast-flowing water to attach a rope to the stricken kayak.
The teams managed to secure the boat with the help of the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team.
Steve Clough, from the mountain rescue team, said the water was swollen with snow melt and extremely cold.
The Great North Air Ambulance took Mr Baird-Parker to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, for treatment but he was pronounced dead after he arrived.
A second helicopter - an RAF Sea King - also helped with the operation.
Mr Baird-Parker praised the efforts of the emergency services to save his son's life.