TRIBUTES have been paid to Bury Sub Aqua Club’s most experienced diver who died while on holiday on the Isle of Man.

Eric Warburton, aged 62, of Richardson Close, Whitefield, lost consciousness when he surfaced from a dive near Sugarloaf Rocks at about 4pm on May 2.

Fellow divers battled desperately to resuscitate him while the boat sped back to Port St Mary harbour.

But despite four first aiders from the Port St Mary Lifeboat Station also performing CPR, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Warburton was part of a group of seven club divers who had been exploring the Sugarloaf Caves.

Mr Warburton leaves behind a sister Carole, who was also on the trip, and a brother, Alan.

His funeral was held at St John’s Church in Heywood last Wednesday.

He had been diving since the age of 19 and was a qualified advanced diver.

He was the club’s longest diver member, having been part of the organisation since it was set up more than 40 years ago.

He worked as a technician in the school of chemical engineering and analytical science at Manchester University.

Neil Turner, chairman of Bury Sub Aqua Club, knew him for 15 years and said he died “doing something he loved, surrounded by his friends”.

He said: “Eric was a gentleman and a gentle man, never having a bad word to say about anybody. In fact just the opposite – he was always supportive of whatever others were doing.

“He was quiet and sensitive to the needs of others and had a thirst for information, resulting in a very wide general knowledge.

“He was well-educated and well read. A man of many talents and interests, always keen to keep in touch with what was going on at all levels.

"Eric has left each one of us with good memories of him and it is evident he had an influence on so many people in so many different ways.”

He completed a Bachelor of Science degree at Manchester Metropolitan University before working at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.

He later joined the school of chemical engineering and analytical science.

His colleague, Prof Krishna Persaud, said: “Our friend and colleague left us so suddenly and unexpectedly that it is difficult to reconcile his departure.

"Our school and our university has lost a valuable member of staff and we are missing him. ”