TRIBUTES have been paid following the sudden death of 27-year-old Ben Osborne, a ‘sensitive and caring’ assistant manager at Appleby and Penrith leisure centres.

Police were called to Ben’s Penrith home on June 14 in relation to his sudden and unexpected death. There were no suspicious circumstances.

Sport-loving Ben spent the first four years of his life in Kendal, near family including grandparents Hilary and Eric Binks, of Oxenholme.

Mrs Binks said: “He was a sensitive, caring and loving person who was loved by all those whose lives he touched.

“The support the family have had at this time is overwhelming – we have had hundreds of cards and messages on Facebook.”

“We are expecting around 500 people to attend the funeral on Friday, which is a testament to how popular and well-loved he was.”

Ben attended Ghyllside Nursery and started Vica-rage Park Primary School before moving to Brentfield Wray, Penrith.

After leaving Ullswater Community College he worked full-time for a year before studying sports and leisure management at Sheffield Hallam University.

Ben started working at the leisure centre in 2004 as a lifeguard and on reception before progressing to a managerial position.

As well as playing rugby for Ullswater Community College and football for Pategill, he had recently taken up skiing while on holiday with his long-term partner Lucy Butterworth.

Both Appleby and Penrith Leisure Centres will be closed from noon on Friday to allow employees and customers time to attend Ben’s funeral at Penrith Methodist Church.

Ian White, Chair of North Country Leisure Eden, said: “Everyone at North Country Leisure is totally devastated by the sudden and tragic death of Ben, and we are struggling to come to terms with this immense feeling of loss.

“He has made an immeasurable contribution to the development of leisure services in Eden, through his dedication and willingness to always go the ‘extra mile’.

“Although everyone feels inconsolable at present, we are sure comfort will be drawn from many happy memories of Ben’s life and work.”

Ben is survived by parents Kate and Paul, sister Rebecca and grandparents Hilary and Eric Binks, and John and Jean Osborne.