THE body of an engineer working in the Caribbean has been discovered in the sea.

Ben Burgess (25), an engineer in the Merchant Navy, was on shore leave when he was found dead in Oistins, in Barbados, last Wednesday.

Ben was originally from Ilkley, in Yorkshire, but moved to Prudhoe four years ago after meeting his girlfriend Rebecca Pattinson (26) while studying marine engineering at South Shields Marine School.

As part of his employment, he would work for three months in the Caribbean and then return home for a three-month spell.

Investigations into his death are ongoing and it is believed his body will not return to England for up to 30 days.

He and his girlfriend Rebecca were saving up for a deposit to buy their first house together in Prudhoe, and they had also picked out engagement rings for each other as they planned to spend the rest of their lives together.

Rebecca said: “Words couldn’t do Ben justice. He always had a smile on his face, always so happy and he would go for a drink with anyone.

“He was just the best person you could meet in the world. He just wanted to be everybody’s friend.

“We just clicked straight away and, from that moment we met, the connection was just there.”

She added: “The hardest part is that he has been away since February so nobody was expecting him to walk through the door, so I think it will take a while for it to all sink in properly.”

As people in Prudhoe referred to him as Pirate Ben due to his work on boats, his friends have organised a pirate-themed fun day in his memory.

Between midday and 6pm on Saturday, people are invited to come along to the fun day, which will include a game of rounders and a barbecue, at Highfield Park, in Prudhoe, dressed as pirates, or in blue clothing.

All funds raised on the day will go to installing railings and life vests on the jetty in Oistins to prevent similar accidents happening in the future, at the request of Ben’s family.

A fund-raising page has also been set up at

The initial target of £500 was smashed within 12 hours of going online.

Prudhoe businesses have shown their support for the fund-raising drive by donating prizes for a raffle which will be drawn at the Pirate Day.