Tributes have been paid to an ex-Wigan amateur rugby player who has passed away.
Former Wigan St Patricks player Paul Poole died earlier this week aged 48, and messages of condolence quickly poured across the web and social media.
Rest in peace Paul, heaven has gained another angel and your presence will be sorely missed by all of us at the clubCath Taylor
Club chairman Cath Taylor said: “The club are extremely saddened to learn of the death of former player and club legend Paul.”
“Paul was a character, no doubt about that, but had a heart of gold and will be sadly missed by all at Wigan St Patricks. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and many friends, in particular his son Craig, who Paul was extremely proud of.
“Rest in peace Paul, heaven has gained another angel and your presence will be sorely missed by all of us at the club.”
Paul joined the Clarington Park amateurs as a junior and played in the club’s back row all the way through to the first team, winning the National Cup along the way with the under-19s.
His death is the latest heartbreaking tragedy to have struck the club recently.
Promising young ladies team player Danielle Birchmore was found dead on New Year’s Eve. Her body was found by police on Heritage Way in Wigan town centre in the early hours of December 31. The Rugby League Fan Club Facebook page revealed she had taken her own life. She was 27 years old.
Her dad Paul had spoken out about Danielle’s struggle with depression, and called for more sports organisations to offer more support for mental health issues.
And in 2010, St Pats chairman Bill Atherton was killed after being struck by a train at Whitley.
Club ambassador Joe Charnock said the news of Paul’s death came as a devastating shock to both the club and the local community.
“Paul was a lad who gave everything he had on the field. He was a key player,” he said.
“His passion was typified in his lifestyle off the pitch - he enjoyed life to the full and gave 110 per cent.”
Joe also reminisced over fond memories of Paul, who was known to friends and family as ‘Pooley’ and ‘the geezer’.
“One thing that sticks in my mind was when the team placed Ince Rose Bridge in the cup, and we made a trip across the canal.
“Pats pulled off a victory, and Paul celebrated by diving in the canal! It’s little things like that which stick in your mind. He’ll certainly be missed around the club and by his former team mates. On behalf of the club, rest in peace Pooley, always a top geezer.”