A TAXI company in Oxfordshire has paid tribute to a 'kind-hearted and generous' driver who was tragically killed in an earthquake in Albania.

Klement Cupi, who lived in Oxford since he was a teenager, was the 26th victim of the 6.4 Richter magnitude earthquake that hit the country last Tuesday.

His body was recovered from the rubble of a building in the town of Thumane, 40km to the north-west of the capital Tirana and close to the epicentre.

Mr Cupi, who is thought to have been in his 30s, was found by rescue teams under heavy stones, where he remained for 16 hours.

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Oxford Mail:

A fundraiser, started by 001 Taxis on St Aldates Road, has crowdfunded more than £4,700 for Mr Cupi's family.

Belinda Barker, manager of 001 Taxis where he worked for the last six years, said: "He was happy go lucky and always smiling.

"We are all still finding it very difficult to come to terms with what has happened.

"He was loved by all that were lucky enough to have known him.

"He will be sadly missed by so many."

Mr Cupi moved to Oxford as a refugee when he was a teenager, while his parents and brother stayed in Albania.

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He studied in the city and then went on to work in the Red Lion pub off Gloucester Green as a bar manager.

Mr Cupi travelled to his hometown Thumane for his brother's engagement, who survived the earthquake and was recovering in a hospital last week.

Their parents, however, died under the heavy stones of their apartment building.

Over 300 people from all over Oxfordshire gathered in Bonjour Cafe last week to pay respects to Mr Cupi, his wife, who he met while on holiday in Albania, and his family in Oxford.

His cousin Artur Cupi, who also works for 001 Taxis, said that more than £20,000 has been raised for the family since then to cover the costs of the three funerals.

Mr Cupi, who organised the tribute, said he was surprised by how many people came.

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He added that the whole Albanian community was at the cafe but also people from all over the Balkans turned up to support the family.

He described his cousin as 'an amazing guy with a heart of gold' and said he was very well known amongst customers of the company.

"We were very close. I know everything about Klem," he added.

"There wasn't a day when I did not speak to him."

Mr Cupi said that his cousin was very compassionate and cared a lot about other people.

He recalled many occasions when Klem, as friends referred to him, paid fares for customers of 001 Taxis when he saw they were having a bad day.

"He was very smart, funny and down to earth. "I wish I had his brains," Mr Cupi said.

To donate to 001 Taxis' fundraiser, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/belinda-barker