HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a loving family man and mechanical engineer who died working in Afghanistan.

Dave Pattison, 52, from Weymouth, suffered a heart attack in Lashka Gah – the capital of Helmand Province – whilst training army base mechanics.

He was surrounded by colleagues and friends at the time and was due to make his journey home earlier this month, when his current contract ended.

Mr Pattison, who was the much-loved husband of Shirley, devoted father of Lee and Sam and brother to Debra, Elaine, Susan and Mark, is already greatly missed by his family and friends.

He has been described by wife Shirley as a ‘man who loved life, and always up for a laugh’.

Mr Pattison lived in Weymouth all his life and attended Westham Boys School, which became Budmouth College in 1995.

He worked as a mechanical engineer at many Weymouth companies, such as Weyrad based at the Lanehouse factories in the 1980s and Grahams Motor Services on the Granby Industrial Estate.

His real passion was repairing engines and other electrical items, and in 1997 Mr Pattison joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, where he was awarded one of many NATO medals.

Mr Pattison then worked for KBR – an American engineering, construction, and private military contracting company – from July 2011 until his death.

He was also part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Afghanistan, a unit introduced by the US government working to support reconstruction efforts in unstable states.

Mrs Pattison added: “Dave’s love of repairing and fixing things came from his dad, Bill Pattison. Dave also made a lot of friends with his job and in many ways the people he knew out in Afghanistan were his second family.

“We’ve had so many messages from colleagues and bosses of Dave, who described him as a man with a big heart and said whenever they saw Dave getting off the helicopter to work they knew the job would be done well. Dave had no history of heart problems at all so the news came as a huge shock to us.”

During his time at home, Mr Pattison devoted most of his time to repairing and reconstructing old VW vehicles such as camper vans and the classic VW model.

Dave’s son Sam described him as ‘a gentleman and a joker’ and added: “Everyone loved him for his sense of humour.”

Mr Pattison’s funeral service, which was held on Wednesday at Weymouth Crematorium, was attended by more than 150 family and friends, including representatives from the PRT.