Top lawyer dies in drowning tragedy

Tributes poured in tonight for a “caring” and well-known Norfolk solicitor who died during the last swim of the holiday he was taking with his wife and friends.

Tributes poured in tonight for a “caring” and well-known Norfolk solicitor who died during the last swim of the holiday he was taking with his wife and friends.

Michael Belmore, 53, who set up Belmores solicitors in Norwich in 1981, was in Rethymnon in Crete and was due to fly home the day after the Saturday's accident.

Close friend Phil Johnson said Mr Belmore was a strong swimmer so it is believed he might have had a medical problem while in the water during his last evening on the island.

To compound their grief, Mr Belmore's wife Frances and his two children Harriet and Nicole have been told they will have to wait five weeks to bring his body home while a post-mortem examination is carried out by the authorities in Crete.

Friends and colleagues last night spoke of their devastation at his loss.

Mr Johnson, who has known Mr Belmore for nearly 40 years and regularly takes holidays with him, said it was like losing a brother.

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“He was always there for other people and devoted to his family. He was very caring in his work and took a lot of legal aid cases on because he wanted to help those who couldn't afford it good legal support.

“And he was extraordinary fun to be with. He was a doting grandfather, loving father, caring husband and a brilliant friend.”

Simon Nicholls, a partner at Belmore's, said: “The partners and staff at Belmore's are completely and utterly shattered at the loss of a much loved and well respected partner.

“Literally dozens of people have contacted me to say what an incredibly nice bloke he was and that is a fitting epitaph to Michael.”

As well as his wife Frances and his widowed mother, Mr Belmore leaves behind two daughters Harriet, 20 and Nicole, 18, and a grandson Charlie, aged 18 months, who were all at home in Norwich when the accident happened.

Mr Johnson grew up in Cringleford and went to Langley School before taking A-levels at Norwich City College and moving on to the then Bristol Polytechnic to study politics and a graduate law course.

He started his legal career at Cunningham John in Thetford before setting up Belmores at Old Stamp Yard in Norwich. The firm now has three offices in Norwich and one in Stalham.

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