Almost 200 people have left tributes to a popular Helston man whose death has shocked the community.

Former postman and karate Sensei Anthony Woods, known as 'Specs' to many, along with 'Ant' and 'Tiger', was well loved in the town, as shown by the volume of tributes left by friends online.

It is understood that he died in hospital after contracting Covid-19.

While well known and respected to many in Helston, Anthony originally came from Gweek and has a number of first cousins and two close aunts living locally.

Among those paying their respects has been Sensei Adam Collick, of Sandokai Karate, where Anthony was a fellow Sensei at one time.

Announcing the sad news on the club's Facebook page, Adam said: "One of our old Dan grades Anthony 'Specs' Woods has passed away. Anthony was one of the 'originals' when we broke away from our previous association Bujinkai to start Sandokai. RIP Sensei Woods."

And Alan Wear, who knew him during his Bunjinkai Karate days, said: "Such a top bloke, and I've known him for years from back when we did Bujinkai Karate together.

"We always tried to get in early to do some extra training and did some great sparring together. My heart goes out to his family."

Anthony had been a Sensei with Sandokai Karate

Anthony had been a Sensei with Sandokai Karate

Close friend Jay Faust also wrote on Facebook in tribute to Anthony, saying: "He was a very much loved character about town. What a kind honest and very funny man."

He went on to tell the Packet that they had known each other for years and enjoyed metal detecting together, describing Anthony as "the kindest, most gentle soul I have met."

Jay said that Anthony had been in hospital with Covid just before his death, but that he had been in constant contact with his former partner and friend of 18 years, Wendy, until he became too ill to respond.

Jay said: "I've been his friend for many years. I miss him greatly. Anthony is the kindest, most gentle soul I have met.

"Covid took him very quickly.

Anthony at a metal detecting rally he attended with friend Jay Faust

Anthony at a metal detecting rally he attended with friend Jay Faust

"He was happy to help anyone, even if it took its toll on himself. His stories are that of legend; he is the funniest man I know."

His post on Facebook so far has almost 170 comments left in tribute, with more left on the Sandokai Karate Facebook page, showing the popularity of Anthony in Helston.

Wendy Squibb wrote: "My goodness what a shock, such a gentle man, would never hurt a soul. Always the good ones taken too soon," while Chris Dale said: "Very sad as we grew up together and always had a chat and laugh about old times in Gweek."

Others remembered he "always had time for a chat" while as a postman, and described him as "an ambassador of martial arts."