HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a professional skateboarder who took his own life at the age of 28.

Ben Raemers, who honed his skills as a teenager at Walton’s skatepark, turned professional for Los Angeles company Enjoi in 2014.

In a tribute, teammate Louie Barletta described his friend as a “puppy dog, running around happily exploring the world”.

He confirmed the talented skateboarder, who also rode for Converse and Volcom, took his own life.

“Words can’t describe the pain and hurt in my heart right now thinking of his poor soul and the burden he must have carried deep within,” he said.

“On the outside, Ben was such a happy-go-lucky guy who would share everything he had with his mates.

“To best describe him would be to say he was a puppy dog - bundles of energy mixed with dumb curiosity tangled within a body with absolutely no co-ordination.

“Every day was an adventure.

“Every experience, no matter what it was, was the best thing he had ever done.

“He had this aura about him and he left an impact on every single person he met.”

Ben could often be seen “flying around” London’s Victoria Park skatepark.

Fellow skaters and friends have raised more than £12,000 to put towards a memorial bench for Ben, with the aim of installing it at the park.

A fundraising page, which had an initial target of £1,500, described him as a “kind-hearted, pleasant chap”.

It added: “On most days if you made your way down to Victoria skatepark you would find Ben enjoying himself, flying round the bowl and bringing an atmosphere of fun and good times.

“You’d be hard pressed to find a better role model, friend, brother or son.”

Surplus funds will be shared between Raemers’ family and a suitable charity.

Ben was also known for his inspiring tutorial videos, shared on the Ride Channel on YouTube.

His how-to videos, watched by thousands, helped aspiring skateboarders to learn the ropes.

One Clacton skateboarder, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s been really upsetting for most of us in Essex and across the world.

“He was known by everyone for being the biggest skateboarder to come out of Essex - from a little seaside town - and one of the best from the UK.”

A free helpline run by The Samaritans is available around the clock on 116123.

To support the campaign dedicated to Ben's memory, visit gofundme.com/f/ben-raemers-memorial-bench-at-victoria-skatepark