LOVING tributes have been paid to much-loved Matthew Cooke who passed away at the age of 19 while backpacking in Vietnam.

Family and friends released this tribute: “Matt was an extremely popular, caring and bright young man. 

“He was upbeat and sunny and had a way of bringing people together, always joyful to be part of a large group of friends. 

“His close friends loved him like a brother and he felt the same about them. Many others, even those who knew him less well, have spoken of his kind, friendly and generous nature.” 

A pupil at Wynstones School from age four until 16, Matt, from Stroud, formed close and long-lasting friendships.

He especially enjoyed sport, history and drama. He did well in all his GCSEs and went on to achieve three A-levels at Marling sixth form, where he also made many friends.

Matt played football and tennis for clubs in Frampton when he was younger and then five-a-side with his dad in the company team. 

Later he set up and was the captain of Dano FC, with most of his best mates playing alongside him in the Leisure Leagues. 

In his gap year Matt worked at the Badger at Eastington.

Matt was travelling around Thailand and Vietnam with his friends and looking forward to starting at Goldsmiths, University of London this year. 

His family said: “Matt was having a wonderful year, he told us how happy he was on many occasions. He was such a mature, kind and considerate young man.

"Unfortunately whilst travelling he had a tragic accident and we his parents, his sister, all his loving family, his girlfriend and friends are devastated to lose him in the prime of his life.

"We all loved him so very much and he will be forever in our hearts.”

Matt passed away in May after he slipped and hit his head by a swimming pool at the Hostel Ninhvana in Nha Trang. An inquest was held on Thursday.