TRIBUTES have been paid to a man who died when he fell from a stand at York Racecourse.

Jack Yates, 21, had been at the course with friends on Saturday when tragedy struck.

He is understood to have fallen down the void between internal staircases in the Knavesmire Stand at 5.30pm, shortly after the end of the day’s final race, and was pronounced dead at the scene. North Yorkshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive are investigating.

Friends of Mr Yates paid tribute online and residents in his village of Queensbury, near Bradford, also spoke of their shock.

One friend on twitter wrote: “I can’t believe I’ve lost one of the greatest mates anyone could ask for tonight! Truly top lad and legend!”

Another of Mr Yates' friends, Danny Hirst, tweeted: "Jack was a selfless individual who put everyone else first and always made sure they had a smile on their faces."

Mr Yates had worked in the human resources department of a farm shop in the Bradford area for about six years, and had been excited to be visiting York Racecourse, his colleagues said.

One, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's just such a shock. We're still trying to get our heads around what has happened. He was extremely well-liked. We're just trying to come to terms with it."

Queensbury councillor Lynda Cromie said she and her husband, Coun Paul Cromie, hoped to visit Mr Yates’s family this week to offer their support.

She said: “It’s an absolute tragedy. Queensbury is such a tight-knit community and we will do whatever we can to support his family.

"Our condolences go out to them, his friends and anyone in Queensbury who knew him. It is such sad news."

Inspector Charlotte Bloxham, of York Police, said: “Although we do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances and are treating the death as a tragic accident, I am appealing to anyone who was in the Knavesmire Stand at the time to contact the police.”

A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive said: “The incident has been reported to us and we are liaising with the police, who are leading on the incident at this time.”

About 25,000 people attended the Stowe Family Law LLP Grand Cup race meeting on Saturday.

A statement released by James Brennan, marketing director for York Racecourse said “the thoughts and sympathies of all at York Racecourse go out to family and friends”, and urged anyone who saw the incident and who may be able to help police with their inquiries, to phone 101.

In an unrelated incident during the races, North Yorkshire Police also confirmed one man suffered minor injuries when he was struck by a bottle, and several people were arrested at the racecourse throughout the day.