A FULL-SCALE search for a 90-year-old musician missing at sea has been called off.

Keen musician Arthur Roy Taylor, known as Archie, was last seen sailing out in his dinghy off the Welsh coast on Saturday morning.

The boat carrying Mr Taylor, a father-of-two from Waterfoot, was found empty that evening after he failed to return, prompting a large search and rescue operation by land and sea.

The search has since been scaled down after no trace of Mr Taylor was found.

Friends have spoken of their shock at the disappearance of Mr Taylor, a talented saxophonist who has performed with the 2nd Rossendale Scout Group and Band for the past ten years.

In February he was on stage at a show at Blackburn Cathedral and despite turning 90 in August remained very committed to the band.

Scoup group musical director Graham Helm said: "It is a tremendous shock that someone who is such a part of the band has become national news for such a sad set of circumstances.

"Archie is a phenomenal saxaphone player. He has been a professional musician all his life. Over the last ten years he has been a regular performer with the band.

"We have played across the country with him, but he will be especially well-known for people in East Lancashire.

"Although he was 90 he was like a child at heart. He brought so much to it in terms of his enthusiasm and talent.

"He sprang to life when playing and really captured audiences. He had enthusiasm and joy for his music. He had more life than most of us when he was playing."

Mr Taylor was last seen at 9.30am on Saturday, when he left his accommodation to take his dinghy out from Gwbert boat club in Ceredigion, West Wales.

A search of shoreline in the area on Sunday evening was unsuccessful and the Coastguard said it was unlikely a "formal" operation would resume yesterday.

Commodore John Leigh, from the boat club, said: "I have known Archie for 30 odd years. He is well-known, well-liked and a very competent and experienced sailor.

"He comes down regularly and stays with his friends nearby and takes his dingy out in the estuary here. When his boat was discovered on the beach it was devastating."

Dyfed-Powys Police are continuing to appeal for any photos or video of the coastal area to help with their investigation.

A force spokesman said: “Police are especially seeking any video or photographs taken by members of the public of the coastal area around the sea off Gwbert on Saturday morning as they may have captured him sailing.”

Coastguards were contacted at 5.15pm on Saturday when Mr Taylor failed to return home following a trip on the water during the day.

Mr Taylor’s small boat was found in Cardigan without anyone on board.

The coastguard rescue helicopter from Caernarfon attended, along with rescue teams from Caernarfon, Cardigan, Gwbert and Moylegrove.

RNLI lifeboats from Cardigan and Fishguard were also involved, as well as Dyfed-Powys Police.

Sightings or information can be reported to police by dialling 101 and quoting incident reference 251 of April 15.