The sister of a 20-year-old man who died at Cotswold Water Park remembers him as a “kind and gentle soul who cared so much about people”.
Robbie-Jay Sims drowned after he got into difficulty at a lake when he went for a trip with his friends during the heatwave last Monday.
His mum Charlotte Oland says there are “no words” to describe her loss and that Robbie’s death was a “shocking, tragic accident”. She is grateful she told him she loved him before he left the house for the last time.
His dad Robert Sims explained how proud he is of his son and how he was “the best son and best brother”.
“He didn’t have a bad bone in his body and he never got stressed about anything. I miss him so much and I would have done anything for him,” he added.
Robbie’s closest friends and family members gathered at the lake near Whitefriars Sailing Club on Friday to release balloons and say goodbye.
Sister Paris, 17, paid tribute to her brother and spoke about how he had always looked out for her.
She said: “He was a kind and genuine person. He always made sure I was OK and checked in on me every day.”
Robbie had a close-knit circle of friends and some of those friends knew him for over a decade; one of his longest friendships was with Miles who he met when he was just four.
Best friend Dolton Wells was at the lake when the 20-year-old died.
He said: “Robbie was such a unique individual. He would take on challenges that were thought to be impossible.
“He had no fear and was undoubtedly the funniest of us all. He will be forever in our hearts.”
Robbie became friends with Chanise Gibbs when they met at karate aged nine and they attended Swindon Academy together.
“We’re still just as close as when we first met and we never had an argument. We became pretty much inseparable,” Chanise said.
Robbie, who lived with his mum in the Toothill area of Swindon, was supposed to be going to his dad’s house in Cheney Manor on the evening he died.
His parents now want to warn others about the dangers of open-water swimming to avoid future tragedies. It appears Robbie was swimming to a yellow buoy when he got into difficulty.
His dad said: “It doesn’t look that far from here but that’s what has taken my son’s life. I don’t want this happening to another kid and no parent needs to deal with this again.”
Mum Charlotte added: “It was 34C and he wanted to go swimming. He was a good swimmer.
“You can’t say you’re young and stupid because I might have done it myself. You don’t know how dangerous it is.”
Cotswold Water Park has extended its “sincere condolences” to Robbie’s family and has reminded people to find lakes specifically designated for open-water swimming.
Robbie recently started working in the landscaping trade and became a “workaholic”, getting up at 4am every day.
His friends all agree that he was talented at everything he tried; he would hit strikes in bowling, he was a great footballer and, in a game of pool, he could pot balls behind his back.
He loved grime and drill music and was described as “fearless and invincible”.
To donate to a fundraiser for Robbie’s funeral costs, click here.