A POLICE underwater search team has recovered a body from a hotel lake believed to be best man Patrick Cody, from Sedgley, who vanished in deep water after going skinny dipping during a wedding reception on Friday.

Just hours after making his best man’s speech, the 26-year-old went for a late night swim in the lake at Patshull Park Hotel and Country Club, near Wolverhampton.

He had been one of three best men at the wedding of friends David Abbiss and Sarah-Jane Shaw when the tragedy happened.

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “At 7pm last night, Monday August 8, a body was recovered from the lake by an underwater search team from Nottingham.

“Formal identifcation has yet to take place.”

The news ends three days of torment for Patrick’s family after the alarm was raised at the popular wedding reception venue 11pm and frantic guests searched the grounds.

Father Joseph Marikuzhi, who married the couple at St Chad’s RC Church, Sedgley, earlier the same day said the tragedy had been a “great shock.”

He said he had known the couple and Patrick throughout the 10 years he has been a priest at the church as they were regular church goers.

Father Joseph spoke briefly to David, aged 26, and 25-year-old Sarah, who live in Wombourne, on Saturday when they called to collect their marriage certificate and offered them words of comfort.

“They were very upset, she was crying and it was a really sad situation,” he said, adding that prayers were said for the families during Sunday’s services.

He had also offered Patrick’s father, Denis Cody, his condolences, when he phoned him on Saturday.

Mr Cody, aged 60, is headteacher of St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Hillcrest Road, Dudley.

A spokeswoman at the family home in Aylesford Close, said they were all too upset to talk.

In a statement the family said: “Patrick was a friendly, popular and much loved son, brother and friend. He had a passion for music, literature and sport and a lively sense of humour.

“His whole family is devastated by the loss of a young man who loved life and brought such happiness to so many.”

Patrick, whose uncle is former Dudley mayor of 1997, Bill Cody, from Wall Heath, was planning to follow in his father’s footsteps having signed up to start a teacher training PGCE course at Birmingham University in September.

A keen Aston Villa fan, he attended St Chad’s RC Primary School, Sedgley and Bishop Milner Catholic School, Dudley. Patrick graduated from Keele University in 2005, since when he had a number of temporary jobs.

A relative, who was a guest at the wedding, said on the advice of family David and Sarah had flown out to Florida on Sunday for their honeymoon.

"It was felt that it was best they get away at this time," he said, adding: "I didn't know anything until the alarm was raised and the police were called. Guests went outside to look for him. Everyone was very concerned for the missing young man and David and Sarah were very upset.”

Hotel manager Stephen Kimbells, of Patshull Park Hotel at Pattingham, said guests had told staff that the best man swam about 100 yards out into the lake and the alarm was raised about 20 minutes later when there was no sign of him and guests started to worry.

A police spokesman said a family liaison officer was supporting Patrick’s family and added: “These are obviously very upsetting circumstances for the family and friends of the man involved.”