THE family of a climber who died in New Zealand can’t afford to fly his body home – and will miss his funeral.

Robert Buckley, 31, from Shoebury, was killed after falling 2,000ft from Mount Sefton on Saturday.

His grief-stricken mum, Gill Ray, a part-time cleaner, and his younger brother Alex, 28, and sister Kate, 23, are now resigned to missing his cremation, which will only be attended by friends he had made travelling in New Zealand.

Miss Ray, 58, of Thorpedene Gardens, Shoebury, has been told it would cost at least £5,000 to bring her son home.

Holding back tears, she said: “Flying 24 hours to get there, knowing what you’re going there for, is not something I want to go through. And of course the cost of flying there is another thing I can’t afford.”

She said a friend of hers in the country is arranging Robert’s funeral, although details are yet to be finalised.

The family had thought they had some hope of bringing his body home after they found out he had taken out a travel insurance policy, but were told a technicality meant it was not valid.

Miss Ray said: “They looked into it, but said because he wasn’t resident in the UK for six months before he took out the policy they wouldn’t cover it.”

She is now resigned to the fact she won’t be at her eldest son’s funeral and will need to have his ashes flown back home, instead.

She said if the family had had the insurance money the funeral would have been held in England.

While looking back through many photos of Robert, she said: “I was really angry about it, but it is hard to think straight at the moment, to be honest.

“It is such a hard time. I can’t get used to talking about him saying how he ‘was’ instead of how he ‘is’.”

Robert had been travelling since 2010. He came back to the UK for a few weeks last year after his father, Ray, died, before setting off for New Zealand.

Miss Ray hopes to arrange a memorial his many friends can attend, after his remains have returned to the UK.