Missing Staffordshire cricketer Ian Pearson found dead in South Wales
TRIBUTES have been paid to a 41-year-old holidaymaker who was found dead three days after going missing in a South Wales resort.
Relatives called in police after Ian Pearson went missing around the Pembrokeshire coast last Wednesday.
His body was discovered in nearby woods on Saturday afternoon.
Now a post-mortem examination is being carried out to find out how Ian died.
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It is expected an inquest will be held into Ian's death at a later date.
Ian, who was brought up in the Staffordshire Moorlands, had been living in the Manchester area.
He was well-known in North Staffordshire cricketing circles having played for Leek and Ashcombe Park cricket clubs.
Former teammates today paid tribute to the popular medium pace bowler.
Close friend Steve Proffitt, who is captain at Ashcombe Park, said: "It's such sad news because Ian was one of the most genuine people I knew.
"He was a whole-hearted guy who wore his heart on his sleeve. He gave everything to the team and his friends.
"He was a top-class player and a great teacher, always making time for the younger lads."
Steve, aged 34, was just nine and playing for the club's junior teams when he first met Ian.
He added: "I looked up to him because he was the kind of man worth looking up to.
"He was a big family man and it's such tragic news to hear he's passed away."
In 2000, Ian hit the sporting headlines when he took all 10 wickets in an innings for Leek Cricket Club against Elworth.
Leek Cricket Club chairman and former teammate Brian Mellor said: "Very few people have achieved what Ian did on the cricket pitch. He was a great club cricketer.
"We're absolutely devastated by the news. He was such a good man on and off the pitch – the life and soul of everything that was going on."
Ian was last seen in Little Haven, in Pembrokeshire, with his two border collie dogs at 9.45am last Wednesday.
Inspector Jackie Blackmore, from Dyfed-Powys Police, said yesterday: "Following an extensive search by specialist teams a body of a man matching Ian Pearson's description was found in a densely wooded area in South Pembrokeshire on Saturday afternoon.
"Ian's next of kin have been informed.
"There are no suspicious circumstances and the coroner is being informed.
"Our sympathies and thoughts are with Ian's family."
To pay your respects to Ian, email email@example.com