Donations pour in for funeral after death of popular Wigan dad at 29
Thousands of pounds have been donated to help pay for the funeral of a popular dad of two, who has died at the age of 29.
Friends and family have been devastated by the sudden death of Gareth Lancaster, known as Gaz, on Friday, June 10.
He was survived by his fiancee Tandia Constantine and their children Annie, 22 months, and seven-month-old Albert, as well as his father Graham and siblings Jonathan, Ryan, Megan and Declan.
His best friend Aiden Wilson, who met Gaz when he was 10, said his death was a “massive shock”.
Gaz grew up in Whelley and attended Deanery High School, before starting an apprenticeship to train as a plumbing and heating engineer.
He went on to work for Metro Rod and then GSL Plumbing and Heating, becoming known as “Gas Gaz”.
Aiden said: “Gaz was a workaholic. He was working five or six days a week and was known at work as Gas Gaz. Normally people would have pictures of other things on their phone, but he had over 1,000 pictures of boilers on his – he was obsessed with boilers.
"When he was off work he would spend time with the family, going up to Haigh Hall or away to the Lakes.
"Everyone knew Gaz from work or the Cherry Gardens pub, because every day he would go there for two pints after work. On Fridays he would finish work a bit earlier and go there with his friends.”
He described Gaz, who lived in Beech Hill, as “a good friend to a lot of people” and said he doted on his children.
"He loved being a dad, absolutely loved it,” he said. “When he came home from work, the kids ran to the window and shouted ‘daddy, daddy’.”
Aiden wanted to do something to help the family, particularly as they are still grieving for Gaz’s mother Adele after her death two years ago, so decided to raise money for the funeral.
He has been overwhelmed with the number of donations and hopes any extra money will be used to support Gaz’s family.
Aiden said: “Because his dad has lost his wife, he was worried about the financial aspect of things, so I said he shouldn’t be stressing about it and I would set up a fund-raising page. I have never done anything like this before, but within 24 hours we had £8,000. I have had more than 150 messages and can’t reply to everyone.
"I rang his dad and told him I had started the page expecting to raise £1,000 to £2,000, but was up to £8,000. He had to pull over the car because the financial worry was off his shoulders.”
The Bowling Green, on Wigan Lane, will hold a fund-raising night on Thursday, June 23 to boost the appeal, with staff working for free. There will be DJs, singers and quizzes.
Donations in memory of Gaz can still be made online at www.gofundme.com/f/donate-in-loving-memory-of-gareth-lancaster
If you need to talk to someone, call Samaritans for free any time on 116 123.