THE Brighton and Hove community has been rocked by the loss of a much-loved “friend and mentor”.

Gareth Jones was a stalwart of both his favourite pub and the political scene as well as being a a fervent supporter of local businesses.

The 69-year-old was reported missing on Saturday afternoon after not returning home from a walk with his brown cockapoo, Connie.

A huge search was launched with hundreds of volunteers supporting emergency teams as they scoured the shoreline in Hove and Portslade, where he had last been seen.

The Argus: Gareth JonesGareth Jones

But, tragically, the search was scaled back on Sunday afternoon after police received CCTV footage which appeared to show Gareth and his dog being swept out to sea.

As soon as the news broke, tributes began to flood in for the popular father-of-three, and they have not stopped since.

A social post from The Watchmaker’s Arms, his favourite pub in Hove, said the team was devastated to hear that the search had been scaled back.

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Meanwhile, friend Rick Dobbis said he was “grief-stricken” and described Gareth as “a mentor and a beautiful caring soul”.

He added: “He was a teacher and a thinker and a kind and caring friend.”

Gareth touched a huge number of lives in a great many ways.

Among them were Christopher David Ian Stacey and his colleague Dean, who run a fruit and veg stall at the top of George Street in Hove.

The Argus: Search efforts in HoveSearch efforts in Hove

A “stunned” Christopher said: “It was only on Thursday that he stopped to have a chat and order some produce.

“He always had a smile on him and loved to stop for a chat... mostly about football and how Spurs (Gareth’s team) were doing.

“I can totally understand the messages of support for his family at their tragic loss.

“Condolences to his family at this awful time.”

All tributes sent to The Argus can be seen below:

Tributes to missing Hove man Gareth Jones

"Search efforts for Hove man Gareth Jones were scaled down yesterday afternoon after police viewed CCTV footage which appeared to show the 69-year-old and his dog being swept out to sea. You can leave your tributes to Gareth and messages of support for his family below."

We asked for your responses - this is what you sent.

Roger Gibbs

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Dear Robbie and family. Soo very sorry to hear about your dad and your little dog. Your dad was such a lovely man and we will all miss him. This is really sad. Love to you and your family. Take care. Rog from the Poet.

Christine nicol

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RiP Gareth and connie a lovely gentleman..taken so tragically..my sincere condolences to your familyx

Moira Hopes

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So shocked and upset to catch this on the news tonight. Gareth helped me with an enormous amount of support in our partner development programme at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He held a group in his hands but with a very human and humorous touch - I shared many hours with him - always inciteful always humorous but always brave and challenging in his comments - he was determined to make a difference in a big way - such a great loss - many condolences regards Moira Hopes (Elms)

John Brayne

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I never knew this man but this story has touched me. I would have done the same for my dog and even if it was someone else’s dog in trouble. Condolences to Gareths family anc I hope Gareth and his beautiful dog Rest In Peace together . God Bless x

Community contributor

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A true Gentleman and an inspiration every time I had the pleasure of his company. He will be deeply missed by all and my sincerest condolences and thoughts go to his family.

Graham Edward Hepworth

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I had the privilege of knowing Gareth at Swansea University. We met up in our first year having both come from Cardiff and went on to share houses, the odd visit to a pub and the "occasional" beer. He had a brilliant mind and liked nothing more than a good argument about politics. We lost touch but I still consider him a good friend. He was a true character.

miss joyce Clarke

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so sorry to hear this sad news thinking of you all at this sad time

Ricky martin

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In our thoughts and deepest sympathy to all the family ,Ricky and Tania martin

Rick Dobbis

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Gareth was very dear friend and mentor and a beautiful caring soul. I am deeply saddened by this terrible news. Shirley, Robbie and the girls were deeply loved by him as were so many of his friends. He was a teacher and a thinker and a kind and caring friend. Mary Ann and I are grief stricken.

Bernadette Quigg

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Thinking of his wife and family . RIP

Marie boswell

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I’m so so sorry 😢 I was routing for his return I’m sorry this is the outcome thoughts are with his family and friends RIP GARETH AND YOUR BEAUTIFUL DOG XX

Anne D'Gama

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He was a lovely, genuinely nice man, what happened proves how lovely he was, the whole family are lovely & my heart goes out to them all. He will be sorely missed by them & everyone who knew him, may he & his fur baby RIP

Angela Mackay

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Gareth taught me about leadership at business school. He was a compelling, generous and funny. My most sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Alison White

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Gareth had a way of connecting with people that set him apart from others. He cared genuinely about making you feel heard and making your life better and he never compromised his integrity. He loved to socialise, share a joke and grab every opportunity life had to offer. Above all he valued family and our family was the better for knowing him . We will hold him in our hearts: Ali, Dave, Laurie, George.

Stephen Freedman

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So so sorry for your loss and to hear such sad news. Please do let me know if there is anything at all I can do at any time to help you in any way.

Patrick Flood

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I worked with Gary at LBS in the 90's. He was a brilliant teacher, so vital and funny. Condolences to all his family.

Community contributor

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What a very sad story, he looked a lovely kind man. Our thoughts are with you all at this very sad time.

bill young

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My heart goes out to you ,all I can say is he sounds as though he was a wonderful man and remember you cannot lose your memories of him and the little dog

Madeleine knight

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Rip Gareth . You will be sadly missed by many .

Community contributor

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Will all miss him at hove Station what a lovely man and dad always said hello from Jo hove gates

Alexis Hills

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Such a warm and kind man. Am lost for words..... My heart goes out to his family.

Caroline Davies

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No words can describe the devastation this has caused in losing two members of the family. My thoughts go out to you 😥

Kate O’riordan

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To Shirley and family, our deepest commiserations at this terrible time Cathy and Donal O’Riordan

Joy Hamlyn

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So sad to hear this completely tragic news. Gareth and I worked together while he was at Polygram. I learnt a lot from him, he was a wonderful orator and always great fun. My condolences go to his family at this dreadful time

Andrea Power

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So so sad in these surreal times

Community contributor

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I didn't know Gareth very well, but liked him and I'm saddened by this news.

Christopher David Ian Stacey

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I and my work colleague Dean our totally stunned by this news. This lovely Gentleman was a regular on our fruit and veg stall at the top of George Street in Hove. It was only on Thursday that he stopped to have a chat and order some produce. Always had a smile on him and loved to stop for a chat, mostly about football and how Spurs were doing. Can totally understand the messages of support for his family at their tragic loss. Condolences to his family at this awful time.

Carl Dukes

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So sorry to hear the sad news my condolences to family and friends of Gareth and dog my deepest sympathy and thoughts to all x x

Phil Warren

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So so sorry to read this news report. Absolutely heartbreaking. Seems like such a wonderful man and a beautiful dog. I hope you find peace in the days and weeks ahead and am keeping hope that Gareth may still be found safe and well. From a fellow dog owner with heartfelt wishes!

Jane Palmer Williams

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What a loss - his contribution to the field of leadership is immeasurable. Sad, sad news and my deepest sympathies to his family.

Peta Wilkinson

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So sorry to hear about your loss. My partner and I were walking in that area and are very sad to hear this news. May they both rest in peace.

Karen Mallett

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Sorry about the sad loss of gareth and the dog i remember gareth from seeing him around hove

Sue Johnson

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I am sure a number of Friends of Hove Lagoon Supporters and users of the Lagoon knew Gareth and Connie well and I am writing on their behalf. If there is anything I can do please let us know.