A FUNDRAISING appeal to bring home the body of a Galashiels man who died in Prague is nearing its £20,000 target.

Police in the Czech capital confirmed that a body found in the Vltava River on Sunday, May 5, was that of missing Joop Sparkes.

The construction worker, 29, was reported missing in the early hours of Sunday, April 28, after boarding a party boat on the river.

Now a fundraising page has been set up to repatriate his body, contribute to funeral costs and help with the investigation.

After only a few days the appeal fund has raised more than £19,000 of its £20,000 target.

The appeal page described Mr Sparkes as a “cherished son, boyfriend, cousin and uncle”, adding: “He worked in the construction industry and enjoyed outdoor adventures, staying fit, and spending time with loved ones.

“He was a funny, caring and adventurous young man who spent much of his time in nature from climbing mountains, to camping in the wilderness.

“He also spent much of his time with his girlfriend Charley and working on his cars (especially his Honda Civic Type R!).”

A statement from his family said: “We are devastated by our loss and Joop’s passing has left a hole in our hearts.

“Please keep Joop in your thoughts and prayers. Your donation will help us to repatriate Joop’s body back to the UK, contribute towards funeral costs and investigate with local authorities to find out what happened to him.

“We would also like to thank everyone for their messages of support. We are unable to respond to them all at this time as we grieve for Joop.”

To donate to support the family, go to: www.gofundme.com/f/urgent-appeal-help-find-joop-sparkes-missing-in-prague.