THE wife of Newport dad and South Wales Argus worker Ben Caplan has paid a heartfelt tribute to her husband and praised everyone who helped search for him after he went missing.
Danielle Caplan said Mr Caplan - whose body was recovered from the River Usk at Caerleon last Friday, eight weeks after he went missing after a night out - had been a "generous and lovely man" with time for everyone.
"He was great with the children and we were always doing something together," she said.
"We had a camper van and used to pack up for the weekend and just drive with no idea where we would end up. It was a case of finding a farm and asking if we could stop in a field!
"It was great fun and we had good times like that together. He liked to see everyone happy.
"It seems a very long time since he went missing and it's still a very strange situation, really, really hard. You don't expect this sort of thing to happen.
"We've got large families, so having them around has been brilliant, and so many friends have gone out of their way to help."
Mr and Mrs Caplan met around 12 years ago and were friends for several years before beginning their relationship.
They have an eight-month-old son Jude, and Mr Caplan was also stepfather to his wife's son Evan, aged five.
"He was a brilliant dad and I'm glad the children are so young because Evan is only five and doesn't quite grasp the enormity of it," said Mrs Caplan, of Bond Street, Newport.
"If it wasn't for the children I don't know what I would have done. They are a reason to get up in the morning, and it's nice because the baby is so like Ben, it's like having a little bit of him with me."
Mr Caplan, who worked in the South Wales Argus circulation department, was celebrating his 30th birthday in Caerleon when he went missing. The subsequent search, involving Gwent Police and the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA), attracted huge support from Newport and further afield, boosted by poster and Facebook appeals.
"We couldn't believe how many people got involved in different ways, printing posters, looking for Ben. I was really surprised and very, very grateful. So many people worked so hard," said Mrs Caplan.
A funeral service will be held on Thursday February 13, at 10.30am at Gwent Crematorium. Those planning to attend are asked to wear a bit of tartan to mark Mr Caplan's Scottish roots.
Also, instead of flowers, people are invited to make a donation to SARA to support its work in providing a search and rescue service across large parts of the rivers Severn and Wye.
"They are all volunteers and do a great job, as they showed when they were searching for Ben," said Mrs Caplan.