BOTTLES of rum were raised in memory of an engineer who died in Barbados earlier this month.

Around 100 friends of Ben Burgess, whose body was discovered in the water in Oistins, in the Caribbean, on April 10, headed to Highfield Park, in Prudhoe, for a pirate-themed fun day in his memory.

Ben, an oil tanker engineer in the Merchant Navy, was on shore leave when he was found dead. He was originally from Ilkley, in Yorkshire, but moved to Prudhoe four years ago after meeting his girlfriend Rebecca Pattinson and he was known as Pirate Ben by his friends due to his work on tankers.

To mark his memory, people in the area gathered at Highfield and played a friendly game of rounders, before heading to the nearby Fox and Hounds pub.

Rebecca said: “It was an absolutely brilliant turn-out, and more people kept turning up during the day.

“The fun day was organised to allow everybody to get together. It was just phenomenal from start to finish, and the support was amazing.

“Everybody showing up just shows how much he was loved, and I cannot thank everybody enough.

“Ben has made a big impact on everybody here in such a short space of time, and we have to try to held it every year to celebrate Ben’s life.”

In addition to the fun day, friends have also been raising money to install railings and life vests on the jetty in Oistins where Ben’s body was found, to prevent similar accidents occurring. More than £1,700 has been raised.