The family of a man who went missing in the River Thames near Shepperton have paid tribute to him as emergency services continue their search.

Emergency services have been searching for Gary Peter Sturgess, aged 60, from St Neots in Cambridge, since Saturday at 10.42pm.

He has not yet been found.

On Monday (January 21), Sturgess's family issued a statement praising him and asking for their privacy to be respected.

"Gary was a conscientious and magnanimous man who people couldn’t help but feel inspired by," the statement read.

“He was an avid animal lover who would continue to fight for animal rights as well as being a dedicated vegan.

“Gary was living his dream, being on the river being close to nature and everything that he loved. He was on his journey from Surrey to get his beloved boat back to St Neots on Saturday.

"Gary was a father to four children and two grandchildren who will miss him deeply."

His daughter added the following words:

"Our dad, a granddad, a person’s forever partner, a beloved was a wacky wild kind hearted member of our family."

Surrey Police conveyed the message that Sturgess's family would like to have their privacy respected going forward.

They also praised the work of all the emergency services involved in the search for Sturgess since Saturday evening.

"The family would like to thank all of the members of Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, Surrey Search and Rescue and Surrey Police for their efforts so far.

"Also the staff at the Thames Court Pub for their help during this time helping supply the search time with needed food and drink."

Surrey Police and other emergency service personnel were called to the Dockett Eddy Lane area of Shepperton on Saturday following a report that Sturgess had gone into the water from a moored boat.