Spiros Poros pictured with Richard Bright on a previous fishing trip. Photo / Spiros Poros
When Greek Spiros Poros arrived in Cambridge with his New Zealand family he had no friends, but Richard Bright quickly changed that.
The two formed an instant connection and said Bright became the closest person to him when his marriage fell apart.
Poros, an international photographer, spent the day in tears yesterday mourning a man who, along with his close friend Rick Williams, had trusted and believed him.
The avid fisherman and hilarious Cambridge publican was one of five people who died on Sunday after the Enchanter fishing charter they were on was washed over by a rogue wave.
Mike Lovett, 72, Geoffrey Allen, 72, Mark Walker, 41 of Cambridge also died, as well as Mark Sanders, 43, of Te Awamutu. Five others spent four hours in the water before being winched to safety.
But it’s the kindness and support of Bright, 63, that Poros will never forget.
The pair met at Bright’s restaurant shortly after Poros arrived in the country in 2013 and have remained close friends ever since.
When Poros’ personal life fell apart, it was Bright who offered his support.
In 2014 Poros moved to Auckland, but the couple remained good friends, with Poros never going to Hamilton or Cambridge without coming to see him.
“The whole time I was in New Zealand I was in very close contact with Richard.”
Poros moved to Europe three years ago but they stayed in touch and he last spoke with Bright two months ago.
He had messaged his mutual friend and horse trainer Chris Wood last week to ask.
It was Wood who then texted her this week to tell her that the larger-than-life figure had died in the boating incident.
“I was devastated. I was in tears all day yesterday. I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
“Richard meant a lot to me. When you meet people in those circumstances, they’re always in your heart until you really die. It was pretty huge what he did for me, how he helped me. supported.”
Poros had even joined Bright on a fishing trip to the Bay of Islands eight years ago and said his friend was crazy about fishing and hunting.
“Richard and Rick Williams were legends to me. Rick Williams still is. They are hammered into my heart.
“He was very generous, he was a very good friend. I’m not saying that just because he’s my friend, but he was a really, really good human being. He had a good heart, a big heart.”
Poros had also met the other boating victims during his visits to see Bright at the Group 1 tavern and believes that is how they would have all known each other, drinking in his bar.