THE family of a Wirral charity worker tragically killed in a Sudanese air crash has held a memorial ceremony in his honour.
Nick Meadows, 50, of Irby, was working on an Oxfam project to provide fresh water and food for poverty-stricken people.
He was one of 105 passengers who died when a Boeing 737 headed for Khartoum crashed on July 8.
Last night, his niece, Joni Meadows, told how the family released 50 rainbow coloured balloons in a private beach ceremony as a tribute.
She said: "At sunset we took the balloons, one for every year of his life, to the beach in a blanket and said a few words before letting them float into the sky.
"It was a beautiful ceremony and a fitting tribute to such a wonderful man who lived his life for others."
It is believed the plane had problems just after take off and the pilot radioed in. Just 10 minutes later while returning to the airport it crashed and erupted into a fire-ball.
Mr Meadows, the only Briton on the flight, was buried in a mass grave at the site of the crash. Sudanese authorities said the devastation prevented the bodies from being moved.
Three year old Mohammed al-Fateh was the only survivor and is undergoing treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Mr Meadows, who was fluent in Arabic, had dedicated his life to improving conditions in Sudan.
The former Calday Grange Grammar School pupil had studied history at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and gone on to gain an MA in sociology from Sussex University.
But it was during his PhD into Third World agriculture and aid at Hull University that he built up links with the country.
By 1979 he was working there as an English teacher for the Govern-ment and went on to spend most of his adult life there as an aid worker for different organisations, including Cafod and Save the Children.
He was in Sudan as Oxfam's emergency co-ordinator.
A spokeswoman for the charity said: "We are obviously very saddened. Nick was very committed to Sudan and very committed to relieving poverty.
"It is terrible news for everyone who knew him, his family, colleagues and the many friends he had made over the years in Sudan.
"He was a very experienced worker with a long association with the country."
Yesterday, his brother Andy, a secondary school teacher, flew out to his home in Taos, New Mexico, where he lived alone in-between projects, to sort out his affairs.
The pair had spoken just three days before the crash.
Joni, 19, from Barmouth, Wales, and a drama student at Manchester Metropolitan University, added: "He had called and sounded in high spirits. It meant a lot to my dad to have spoken to him.
"Nick was on his way to Egypt for a well deserved fishing trip. He was a keen fisherman and after months of strenuous work this was a chance for him to relax a little.
"It is tragic that he never got the chance to enjoy it.
"Even though he was always working somewhere on the other side of the world we were a very close family. We e-mailed all the time, spoke when we could and visited as often as possible.
"I have so many wonderful memories of him. We spent a month at his home in New Mexico last year and it was the most beautiful place. Nick really loved it.
"When he came to visit us we would always find him on the veranda just watching the world go by. He was totally committed to his work and had given his life to changing the world and making it a better place.
"We have lost a great man."