A FORMER soldier and popular Lakeland figure has died following a tragic accident at work.

Former Carnforth High School pupil, Chris Cowan, 26, died after falling from a balcony at Heysham 1 power station.

The former soldier was a popular member of Kendal Ski Club where he was part of the Junior Development Team and played for the Vale of Lune Rugby Club in his teens.

In 2005, he received an award for bravery from West Yorkshire Fire Service after attempting to save a man from a burning building.

“Chris was a lovely lad, full of fun and a huge personality who lived his life to the full,” said his mother, Christine Cowan, from Kendal.

“He would light up the darkest of rooms and was known for his blonde hair, big smile and blue eyes.

“He was heavily involved in the ski club. His dad taught him to ski from the age of four and he absolutely loved it. He enjoyed a lot of happy holidays in France with the club.

“We were very proud of Chris and we are devastated by our loss.”

Mr Cowan lived with his partner of seven years, Lucy McCarthy, at their home at Ingleborough Road, Lancaster.

A soldier with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, he served in Kuwait and Basra before moving home to work at Heysham power station as an operate technician.

Gwen Parry-Jones, station director at Heysham 1, said: “Our thoughts and sympathies go out to Chris’s family and friends at this terrible time.

“Chris was a local lad who joined us three years ago. He was well liked within the tight knit shift team that he has been working with for the past few years.”

An investigation into Mr Cowan’s death has been launched by the Health and Safety Executive and EDF Energy will carry out an internal investigation.

His funeral will take place at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in Morecambe, from 2pm on Friday.