A THANKSGIVING service will be held on Friday in memory of the social worker who drowned on the Greek holiday island of Corfu.

Richard Milne, 39, known as Richie, died while swimming in the sea earlier this month.

The thanksgiving will be at 6pm at the King’s School in New Yatt Road, Witney, where his widow Claire, 36, was once a pupil.

Mrs Milne grew up in Witney and Mr Milne used to work at RAF Brize Norton.

The couple, from Calne, Wiltshire, had told their children, Zoe, 12, and Reuben, nine, to limit swimming to the hotel pool because the sea was so rough.

But on June 1 Mr Milne, a strong swimmer, left for the beach.

Mrs Milne said lifeguards were limited because of austerity measures in Greece.

She added: “Just before he went, he came and sat with me.

“I didn’t really speak to him and he didn’t speak to me, but I just remember feeling happy he was there. Then he said ‘I’m going to the beach now’.

“I didn’t say goodbye, I just said something very casual and that was the last time anyone saw him alive.”

With the help of the British Consulate, Mrs Milne arranged for her husband’s body to be flown back to Scotland, where he grew up.

Mr Milne joined the RAF aged 18 and was posted to Brize Norton with the Tactical Communications Wing as a telecommunications officer. It was there he met his wife, who was working in a pub.

They were married at RAF Brize Norton in 1997 . The family moved to Wiltshire in 2006 and Mr Milne left the forces to become a social worker.

John Ellwood, headteacher of the King’s School, described his death as a “terrible tragedy”.

Gary Pizzey, pastor of North Witney Community Church, added: “The thanksgiving will be a gathering of people who knew the family and want to meet, chat and remember Richard with fondess.”