HEARTBROKEN friends have paid tribute to a father-of-one who was found dead at a school playing field.
Mark Gibson was described as a huge football fan with an infectious smile who was ‘one of the nicest people you could wish for’.
As reported in The News, the 35-year-old was found dead at Havant Academy last Thursday – a short distance from his home in Wakefords Way, West Leigh.
Police officers found Mr Gibson hanging from goalposts at about 5am.
Mr Gibson had attended the school under its previous name as Staunton School.
Some schoolchildren were allowed to go home after Mr Gibson’s body was discovered last week as they were left upset by the incident.
Friends and colleagues said Mr Gibson’s death came as a huge shock.
For the last eight years Mr Gibson, a Liverpool fan, worked at SCS Sofas, in Wellington Retail Park, Waterlooville.
Lesley Lewis, 43, who works at the store, said: ‘He was always thought of as a well-respected and valued member of staff.
‘He was always there if you needed advice or help.
‘He will be sorely missed by all his colleagues who had the pleasure of working with him.
‘He enjoyed his job and was very knowledgeable.’
She said it appeared that Mr Gibson had been feeling unhappy recently.
Helen Bolton, a close friend since childhood, from Havant, said: ‘We were at school together since we were little.
‘He was a happy-go-lucky guy and always up for a laugh.
‘I am gutted. I am totally shocked. He was just there for everybody.’
Mrs Bolton said Mr Gibson was a well-known figure on the West Leigh estate, having attended Sharps Copse Primary School.
She added: ‘He had a huge smile all the time.
‘He was one of the nicest people you could ever wish for.
‘He was certainly very popular at school and with his friends.’
Friends have set up a Facebook page to pay tribute to Mr Gibson.
Friends gathered for a drink at The Heron pub in Leigh Park to pay their respects to Mr Gibson.
Police have confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances.
The coroner has opened an inquest into the death to determine exactly what happened.