SOUTHAMPTON'S Olympic medallist Peter Waterfield today paid tribute to his friend and colleague Gavin Brown.

The pair had spent the evening socialising with friends before Gavin was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Bevois Valley Road, Southampton, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Peter said: "It's a big loss to everyone. We loved him, he was a good lad who would never hurt anyone."

"He was the life and soul of the party and always centre of attention. His life was about enjoying himself and he certainly did that. Everyone is devastated."

Gavin moved to Southampton in 2005, carrying on his diving training with Southampton Diving Academy at The Quays and studying Criminology at Solent University.

Peter added: "He was a good lad who was trying to work hard at his degree and training.

"He was with us that night, just a couple of hours before the accident, then he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"My thoughts go out to his mum because what we're feeling is nothing compared to what she's feeling.

"He'll be missed by everyone."

Yesterday Gavin's family and friends issued a tribute to the diver.

A joint statement from Gavin's family and Southampton Diving Academy read: "The whole of the local, national and international diving community will mourn the loss of Gavin Brown, who was widely known and loved for his outgoing and fun-loving personality, as well as his overwhelming passion for his sport."

Meanwhile, police are still hunting for the driver of the car, who fled from the scene outside The Hobbit pub in Portswood.

A blue Vauxhall Astra was later found abandoned in Alma Road in the early hours of Saturday.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the driver, or the recent use of the vehicle, is asked to call the force's road death investigation unit on 0845 045 4545 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.