Hundreds of people have paid their respects following the tragic news that a body believed to be that of Ben Whittington was discovered near Ladybower Reservoir, close to where his van had been found abandoned.
A huge search had been mounted for Mr Whittington, who was last seen on Monday morning in Gleadless, Sheffield, with firefighters assisting police in their efforts to find him.
But South Yorkshire Police announced at around 5pm on Tuesday, July 6, that a body had sadly been found and whilst formal identification had yet to take place it was believed to be that of Mr Whittington.
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Hundreds of people have paid their respects on social media, many of whom did not know Mr Whittington but told how they had still been left heartbroken by the awful news.
Among the messages from those who did know him was one from a woman who wrote: “RIP lovely Ben, my thoughts are with your lovely family at this so sad time, happy memories of you growing up will always stay with us xx.”
Another woman commented: “So sad. RIP Ben. What a lovely man. I can’t believe it, such a good footballer. I remember you at football with my son Haydn. Thinking of all your family.”
A third person simply said: “Such a beautiful soul. RIP Ben x.”
Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team, which had joined in the search, wrote: “From all who were involved in the search and the rest of the team, our thoughts and deepest condolences are with family and friends.”
Edale Mountain Rescue, Buxton Mountain Rescue Team, Glossop Mountain Rescue Team and Derby Mountain Rescue team also joined in with the search.
A spokesperson for the Edale team said: “Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the young man in this extremely sad time for everyone involved.”
Police said that enquiries were ongoing but the death was not being treated as suspicious.
They added that Mr Whittington’s family were being supported by specialist officers.
If you need to talk, you can call Samaritans, which is there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for free on 116 123, or visit samaritans.org.