ONLINE tributes have been paid to one of the world’s leading golf course ecologists whose body was discovered in a quarry.

Antony Wainwright, aged 42, was found at the bottom of Cox Green Quarry, in Cox Green Road, Egerton, last Monday.

He worked as an ecologist at the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) and lived in Westhoughton.

Tributes have been paid to Mr Wainwright, who was a married father.

Posted on STRI’s website, one said: “Antony had been working with us for less than a year and during that time had made a great contribution to the golf industry through his knowledge and enthusiasm for the world of ecology.

“He was a kind and gentle person and held in high regard with all who came into contact with him, from both within STRI and our clients.

“He will be missed by us and our heartfelt condolences and sympathies go out to his family, wife and children.”

A statement on the Golf Club Management website said: “Antony was the STRI’s ‘conservation greenkeeper of the year’ in 2011 while at Turton Golf Club due to his work in delivering an environmental management plan at the club.

“He then left Turton and joined the STRI where he, among other things, contributed articles for this publication, such as one on amazing migratory birds that are found on UK golf courses one or two days a year.

“Everyone at Golf Club Management and Greenkeeping magazines would like to express their shock at his passing, and we extend our condolences to his family.”

Police officers had attended a house in Dobson Road, Heaton, in the early hours of last Monday after receiving a report concerning a person’s welfare.

Mr Wainwright’s body was found hours later, and Bolton Mountain Rescue Team helped to recover his body.

An inquest into Mr Wainwright’s death has been opened and adjourned at Bolton Coroners Court.