A former Essex school boy died trying to save his two young daughters from being swept out to sea in Portugal.

Trevor Pelling, 45, rushed into the water after seeing his 12- and 9-year-old girls get into difficulty due to strong currents at Calada beach in the Algarve.

He suffered a cardiac arrest in the water and was pulled to shore by surfers.

A former pupil at the Ortu Gable Hall School, in Trevor's school year when they both left in 1992, has paid tribute to the dad-of-two.

The 45-year-old, from Stanford-le-Hope, said: "He was a lovely, genuine guy.

"I always knew he was going to do well. He was really studious, and was very good at sports.

"He was really popular.

"It's really sad, it came as quite a shock."

Mr Pelling, a regional manager for a financial advice firm, was living in Abu Dhabi and travelled to Portugal for a holiday with his young family.

He couldn't be saved despite the efforts of a nurse who happened to be on the beach, near the popular surfing resort of Ericeira.

The two girls were taken to hospital in Lisbon accompanied by their mum, and have been said to be in a stable condition.

An Instagram account under Mr Pelling’s name features two pictures taken the day before the tragedy.

One shows the sea with the sun setting in the distance.

The caption states: “Portugal was a gateway back to the U.K. but family time here great wine, amazing views and lovely chilled way of life has totally grabbed me.