Published: 12:48, 09 August 2018
| Updated: 13:17, 09 August 2018
The heartbroken family of a man whose body was found following a four-day search have described him as an “incredibly friendly” person who had the innocent soul of a child.
Robbie Manning, who was left with the mental capacity of a six-year-old after surviving brain cancer as a young boy, went missing from his assisted living accommodation last Tuesday.
Following an extensive search across Herne Bay and later in Thanet, the 53-year-old’s body was found on Saturday in the quiet cul-de-sac of Oxenden Square.
His younger brother Neil, of Gravesham, Lincolnshire, said the avid West Ham fan was much-loved in the town because of his affectionate nature.
“He was my ray of sunshine and I am broken at the moment as I absolutely adored Robbie,” he said.
“There have been lovely tributes from people all over the town - it clearly shows how much people liked him.
“He would sometimes go ‘walkabout’ on one of his little adventures - he was quite an expert survivor in wandering around and would always be found or picked up by police.
“Unfortunately, though, that wasn’t the case this time.”
Robbie spent about 15 years of his life in Herne Bay and was cared for in assisted accommodation in Selsea Avenue.
Beforehand, he spent a number of years in Thanet, with Margate becoming one of his favourite places.
Neil, who says his brother’s level of independence was down to the upbringing from his devoted parents, added: “At the age of six there was a one-in-three chance he would survive but Robbie was a tough son of a gun.
“His brain was left damaged and he remained with a mind of a six-year-old throughout his life.
“It meant he was a very sociable, decent little soul who was incredibly friendly to everyone - he had a natural assumption that all people were good.
“His presence in our lives brought us so much joy that it is hard to comprehend his light has moved on.”
As well as following West Ham, Robbie - the middle child of three brothers - loved to play pool.
Neil added: “We have been really touched by all of the lovely comments from people on Facebook and they have really helped make a difference.
“We’d like to pay tribute to the staff at The Wimbledon House Care Home for looking after him like he was a member of family to them.”
Police say the death is not being treated as suspicious and a report is being prepared for the coroner.