The devoted father from North Devon collapsed in Kenya whilst on a 10-week patrol working on a food relief ship.

THE FAMILY of a security worker who died in Kenya last week has paid tribute to a 'loveable rogue with a heart the size of an ocean'.

Ben Ryalls, from Clovelly, was about to board the MV SVS Frobisher in Mombasa after a night out with friends when he collapsed in the early hours of Tuesday week.

Despite the efforts of his friends to save him, the 34-year-old suffered heart failure and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ben was a security team leader working for business risk consultants Drum Cussac on a ten-week patrol shipping emergency food relief to Somalia.

His mother and father, Denise and Dennis Ryalls, younger sister Amy Ryalls and Auntie Mandy Ley described him as their very own James Bond.

"His friends would say he was a 'loveable rogue', and he would do anything for his family," said Mrs Ryalls.

"His pride and joy was his beautiful two-year-old daughter Emily Anne, who lives with his partner Wilaiwan who he met in Thailand."

Ben, who attended Clovelly Primary School and later Bideford College, did well at school and was well known in the local community for his mischievousness.

Mr Ryalls said: "He was always giving his teachers trouble, but he could charm himself out of anything.

"When his new sister arrived into this world he loved her so much that he wanted to share all his Smarties with her; his mother found her with them in her nose, ears and mouth.

"He had such a huge heart; when he was 16 he performed CPR on a German tourist who collapsed, and though nothing could be done to save him, the family wrote him a lovely card to thank him."

After leaving Bideford College, Ben tried various jobs but eventually satisfied his craving for adventure by joining the Royal Marines in 2000.

During his time in the force, he served two tours of Afghanistan and one in Iraq, and later moved to Poole to complete a 'skippers' course.

In 2007 he left the Marines with a chest full of medals and despite his father's efforts to convince him to settle down and become a plumber, he started working as a security contractor for the oil industry.

His aunt, Mandy Ley, added: "The nine-to-five was most definitely not Ben; he loved his adventure and action."

The doting father also enjoyed a thriving social life, with a keen interest in boxing and football, as well as looking after his beloved boxer dogs Dizzee Rascal and Freddie, who recently passed away.

His sister Amy said: "If you could have taken dogs into the Marines, Ben would have been the first person signing up; he had such a passion for his boxers.

"He loved keeping fit and entered the Washington Marathon when training for the Marines raising around £1,000 for Little Bridge House."

Mrs Ryalls added: "We are devastated that someone who appeared so fit and full of life could be subjected to this kind of demise.

"Everyone has been so supportive and it has helped make this difficult time just that tiny bit easier."

A memorial service will be held at Clovelly All Saints Church, where Ben was christened and his parents were married.

The time and date of the service is yet to be confirmed; please contact A H Johns Funeral Directors for further information on 01237 431379.