A young amateur rugby star who drowned in a hotel swimming pool while on holiday in Cyprus with his family, has been described as cheeky and amazing.
Ben Woods was holidaying in Paphos, on the Southwest coast of the Mediterranean island, when tragedy struck on Tuesday.
The 21 year old from Leigh, Greater Manchester, was reportedly pulled out of the swimming pool at King Evelthon Hotel, but could not be revived.
Following his death his friends and family described the keen sportsman as an “absolute legend” and their “hero”.
And his grief-stricken brother, Josh Woods, who plays for pro-rugby league side Newcastle Thunder in the Championship, a division below the sport’s top flight, said he wished he was just experiencing a “nightmare”.
He wrote on Twitter : “The best person ever my brother my best friend and my hero I love you so much and just want this be a nightmare.
“Fly high up there Ben RIP.”
Pal Ethan Hill said: “I couldn’t say a bad word about the lad, one of the best lads I’ve ever known and an amazing family who deserve the world.
“A lot of us are devastated and don’t know what to do or think, one of the worst things to happen to one of the most amazing lads
Another friend wrote on Facebook : “Ben Woods you will be a massive hole in everyone’s hearts.
“Coming out of lock down you spent so much time here with all the lads. Always in the centre of making everyone smile, laugh, dance and have a great time.
“Sending all our love & thoughts to the Woods family & Eastleigh lads .the massive circle of friends you had. Fly high Ben.”
A further mate said: “Rest in peace Ben Woods Absolute legend.
“Always made time for anyone and made them giggle! Will miss our catch’s up weekly and all your song requests. Very sadly missed.”
Ben’s rugby club, Leigh East, also paid tribute to the young man, who they described as always having a “cheeky smile”.
A spokeswoman said: “It is with the greatest sadness we have to announce the passing of Ben Woods, one of our young Open Age players, after an accident on holiday with his family.
“Ben had played at Leigh East from a very young age and had progressed through the age groups to become a valuable member of our club.
“Ben was always there with a cheeky smile and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Mick, Mel and Josh, his family and friends at this saddest of times.
“RIP young man, you will never be forgotten.”