The parents of a young Newport man who was killed by a drink-driver in Dubai spoke to IWAN GABE DAVIES of their devastation over the his death, and of the charity they have set up in his memory.

WHEN Tom Bassett arrived in Dubai with a group of friends on a stag do in May 2017, it seemed as though he had the world at his feet.

The 30-year-old had just moved into a new home in Rogerstone with his girlfriend Stacey Dayton and his career as a manager with the Bank of America in Chester, where he commuted, was taking off.

The popular rugby-mad executive had a close relationship with his parents Steve and Linda, both aged 57, younger brother Oliver, 31, and sister Fiona, 29, and a host of close friends.

But his life was cut short when he was killed on the first day of his holiday just hours after landing in Dubai by a drink-driver in a hit-and-run.

South Wales Argus:

LOVE: Tom with his girlfriend Stacey Dayton

Mr and Mrs Bassett got the devastating news when one of their son’s distraught friends telephoned them in the early hours of the morning.

They immediately flew to Dubai to the retrieve his body and bring him home.

But as well as facing up to their unbearable loss, his parents also had to cope with the bureaucracy of the United Arab Emirates and the near £7,000 cost of the repatriation after they had problems with their son's travel insurance company.


So, to prevent other families going through the torment they went through, the couple decided to set up a charity in his memory.

The Repatriation Services Trust (REST) helps Welsh families who lose loved ones abroad and who have to undergo the same harrowing ordeal they endured.

It provides advice, support and help and, so far, has raised £80,000 following a series of fundraisers, including long-distance bike rides, football matches and balls.

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FRAMED: Dad Steve, Tom and his brother Oliver at a fundraising ball

Speaking about life without her son, Mrs Bassett said: “We feel completely empty without him. It’s like the lights have gone out in our lives. I think about him every single second of the day.

“It’s the worst thing any parent could go through, getting that dreaded 2.30am phone call that something terrible has happened to your child.”

After flying to Dubai, they found the local police unhelpful and even hostile to them, and they are still very much in the dark about the exact details of how their son died.

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FANS: Rugby-mad Tom with his father Steve and mother Linda watching a Wales victory over England

Mr Bassett said: “There still hasn’t been an inquest into his death and we are trying to have one opened into the UK but all those efforts are being frustrated by the authorities in Dubai.

“To this day, we still don’t know the full facts about how Tom died. We know the man responsible for killing him spent five months in custody but was then released from jail after paying a fine which is supposed to be handed over to the victim’s family, although that hasn’t happened.”

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CHARITY: The start of the REST TenCar event in Tenby this May

Tom Bassett and Stacey Dayton met when they were both working for Lloyds TSB in Newport. Mrs Bassett said her son's partner has been "devastated" by his death.

"She is like a daughter to us," she said.

"She is part of our life and our family and we see her every week.”


On his son’s character, Mr Bassett said: “You just don’t think this could happen. He seemed to have complete control of his life.

“He was so thoughtful and generous. I love Billy Joel and he paid for Linda and me to go and see him in Frankfurt. He paid for the lot, the tickets, the hotel. He even emailed Billy and asked him to mention me during the concert as a big fan.”

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EPIC: Matt Booth is undertaking a charity bike ride around the world to raise money for REST

“Tom loved rugby and was passionate about following Wales. I find it so hard to watch internationals today without him.

“I follow the Cardiff Blues but I couldn’t watch rugby for a long time because it would upset me too much not having him around with me.”

Mr and Mrs Bassett, who used to live in Marshfield and own a garage business, said they are grateful to those close to them for their support following their son's death. They said: “We don’t know how we could have coped without the love and support of our family and friends. They have been magnificent.”

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POPULAR: Outdoor enthusiast Tom (in orange coat) with friends

Among the upcoming events is a charity launch ball which will be held at the Exchange Hotel in Cardiff Bay on Saturday, October 12.

To donate and find out more about REST, go to

One of Tom Bassett’s friends, Matt Booth, is currently in the US on the American leg of his epic charity bike ride around the world to raise money for REST.

He told the Argus: “I’ve cycled over 18 months around the world to this point. I started in Amsterdam on April, 2018. I went through Europe and onto Turkey, Central Asia and through China to Shanghai. That took nine months.

“From there I flew to South China and cycled through South East Asia to Singapore. From there it was into the Australian outback and then the New Zealand winter.

“Now I have just one month remaining in the United States before I finish my journey in New York.”