TRIBUTES have been paid to a boating enthusiast who was found drowned last week.

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The body of John ‘Joe’ Parker of Foley Road, Great Waldingfield, near Sudbury, was discovered in the water at Crick Wharf near the Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire last Thursday morning.

Police say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and that it is likely he fell into the water.

Mr Parker, who was aged 63, had seven children and was a well-known figure in Sudbury. He spent most of his working life as a machine tool fitter at local automobile parts firm Delphi before retiring in 2009.

His son, Casey, said: “A lot of people knew my dad and he could always be seen cycling around Sudbury.

“Walking into town with him took ages because he knew so many people. He got on with everyone and would talk to anyone.”

Another son, Brett, said: “Dad was the nicest bloke you could ever meet. He bought a narrowboat called ‘The Iron Lady’ with his retirement money and would spend a few days up in Northamptonshire most weeks but always made sure he was back here at weekends to spend time with the family and grandchildren. He will be sorely missed.”

His best friend Andy Lill described Mr Parker as a “lovely bloke” and “someone who would help you out if he could.”

He added: “It was an absolute shock when I heard what had happened. I suppose the only crumb of comfort is that he died doing what he loved best which was spending time on his boat.”

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