TRIBUTES have been paid to a “real gentleman” who died after falling from cliffs in Scotland aged just 25.
Gary Kearns, originally from Astley Bridge, was found at the foot of Arbroath Cliffs on Sunday, August 17.
His family, who still live in Bolton, described him as “the nicest man you will ever meet”.
Mr Kearns’ great auntie, Kim Hilton, was with him in the days before his death and said he was his “usual, happy, carefree self”.
Mrs Hilton, aged 53, of Southgrove Avenue, Sharples, said: “We went up to Scotland for four days and Gary was with us morning, day and night.
“He seemed absolutely fine — there were no signs that he was feeling depressed or anything like that.
“We were gobsmacked when we heard what had happened. It’s just winded us — we are paralysed with grief.
“Gary was a sensitive, well-mannered man. A real gentleman. He was so popular and was loved by all who met him.”
Mr Kearns spent his early years in Bolton, living at Oldhams Terrace, Astley Bridge, before moving to Scotland to live with his grandmother, aged five.
He went to high school in Perth before going on to work in Dundee, in the hospitality industry, working as a waiter and kitchen porter. He travelled all over Europe and was planning to go to South America.
During his travels, Mr Kearns made friends in Spain, Germany and Holland, many of whom have paid tribute to him on Facebook.
His mother and father are both from Astley Bridge and now live in Over Hulton.
Mr Kearns’ great uncle, Keith Hilton, said: “There was nothing to suggest that there was anything wrong with Gary at all.
“We have no idea what the underlying problem was and we are devastated.
“Gary was a polite, respectful, happy young man.”
A spokesman for Police Scotland’s Tayside Division said: “Police Scotland, Tayside Division along with other emergency services attended at Arbroath Cliffs at 11am on Sunday 17 August after the body of a 25-year-old man was discovered. There were no apparent suspicious circumstances.”
Mr Kearns leaves behind his mother Jane, father Mark and younger brother Michael.