Tributes paid after Clapham couple’s Egypt balloon death

13:28 27 February 2013

This image shows the last moments before the balloon plummeted to the ground. Picture: AP Photo/ Al Jazeera via AP video

This image shows the last moments before the balloon plummeted to the ground. Picture: AP Photo/ Al Jazeera via AP video

Friends and neighbours of the Clapham couple who died in yesterday’s devastating balloon crash in Egypt have reacted with shock at the news.

Joe Bampton and his wife, Hungarian-born Suzanna Gyetvai, were among 19 to die in the tragedy in Luxor.

Alison Robertson, 56, who lived next door to the pair, said: “They were a lovely couple - very quiet, unassuming people.

“It’s such a waste of life. They were young and it’s very sad.”

The pair have been were aspiring artists who worked at Lots Road Auctions in Chelsea.

Devastated colleagues said the couple “fell in love at first sight” and began dating soon after Ms Gyetvai joined the company four years ago.

Ms Gyetvai, who was known to workmates through her artist name Zsi Chimera, was a general valuer with the company, while Mr Bampton was an expert valuer in rugs, carpets and furniture.

Lots Road auctioneer Nick Carter said: “It’s like losing a brother, not just a colleague or friend.

“It’s pretty gut-wrenching. Joe was a lovely person, very laid back and very calm.

“Zsi was different to Joe in some ways. She was very direct and headstrong. They made great companions.”

The couple had previously been on holiday to Egypt together two years ago, colleagues said.

Mr Bampton, who had worked at Lots Road Auctions for almost 20 years, had exhibited artworks in London and Berlin.

Ms Gyetvai was also a successful contemporary artist, who had paintings exhibited in London galleries and was registered with the online Saatchi gallery.

She wrote on her professional website: “My aim is to capture and record the most peculiar and inexplicable phenomena that arises in the mind.

“I am intrigued by the uncanny nature of subconscious associations and their emanation into the realm of the conscious.”

Mr Bampton, who grew up in Liverpool, was a keen sports fan and captained the Chelsea Arts Club snooker team, colleagues said.

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