A “WONDERFUL man” and his family were wiped out when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed over eastern Ukraine.

Somerset born and bred banker Andrew Hoare, 59, his Dutch wife, Estella, and their sons, Jasper, 15, and Friso, 12, died when the plane was apparently shot out of the sky by Russian-backed rebels.

Andrew was a boarder in Avenue and Willows houses at Wellington School, which he attended from 1965 to 1972.

His brother, Hugo, also an Old Wellingtonian, said Andrew was a talented sportsman who went into banking on leaving school with A levels in history, art and geography.

In a statement on behalf of the family, Hugo said: “Andrew was born and bred in Somerset and was a greatly loved member of a large family.

“He was a warm, funny and wonderful man whose smile and character lit up a room.

“Estella was beautiful, intelligent, spoke five languages fluently and had a very infectious laugh.

“Jasper had a brilliant young mind and Friso was a talented musician and peacemaker.

“They made frequent visits to both the Netherlands and England to keep in touch with all branches of the family and friends.

“Family was everything to them and they will all be terribly missed.”

Andrew, who recently returned to Wellington School to show his sons round, was christened at the parish church in Beckington, near Frome, where he married Estella in 1998.

He was due to attend a family get together in Bath next month.

Hugo said Andrew had fond memories of his time at Wellington, adding: “The best way to describe him is loyal.

“He’s one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He was just a lovely, family-orientated man.”

Andrew and his family, who lived in Luxembourg, were flying to Malaysia for a holiday at the time of last Thursday’s tragedy.

His stepson Rink Schoofs, 24, was not on the flight.

David Joseph, Andrew’s housemaster in The Avenue, said: “He was a lovely lad, sensible and hard working, and a good athlete and rugby player.

“He was enthusiastic in everything he did.

“What’s happened is absolutely tragic.”