Shock ripples through rugby league community after death of 'absolute gentleman' at age of 35

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A popular employee at Leigh Centurions, who always went "above and beyond" for the club, has died at the age of 35 with coronavirus.

Tributes have been pouring in for IT manager Andrew Parkinson since his death on Saturday.

The former Lowton High School pupil had posted on Facebook just two days earlier that he had tested positive for coronavirus and urged people to "stay at home" to avoid contracting it.

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In a Facebook post, his father Fred Parkinson said: "Just a quick tribute to the memory of my youngest son Andrew, taken from us at the early age of 35 today Saturday 9th January 2021 due to complications from Covid-19, most will know him from his long association with The Leigh Centurions both at the LSV and Hilton Park.

Andrew ParkinsonAndrew Parkinson
Andrew Parkinson

"Our hearts are broken son and no words can tell of the heartbreak Mum David and I are going through. RIP big man, love from us all."

His brother Dave Parkinson tweeted: "Heartbroken. Numb. Doesn't do it justice. Kid bro I will see you in the next life. Rest easy Andrew xx Lots of love, David xx"

The rugby league community has been left shocked by Andrew's death.

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A statement from Leigh Centurions said: "Andrew had been with Leigh for many years as our IT manager though his role encompassed so much more.

"He will be greatly missed by his colleagues and friends not just in Leigh but across the rugby league community.

"An absolute gentleman, Andrew always went above and beyond for the club he loved. The directors, staff and players at Leigh Centurions are all devastated and heartbroken by his passing."

The Rugby Football League tweeted: "The Rugby Football League would like to pass on our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Andrew Parkinson and everyone at Leigh Centurions during this difficult time."

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Friends and colleagues also used social media to pay their respects to Andrew.

Patricia Anne Kelly said: "Such heartbreaking news, I’m still in shock, such a lovely lovely gentleman, always had time for a chat and a laugh. So privileged to class him as a friend. RIP Andrew. Fly high you will be sadly missed by so many. Thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences to Fred, David rest of his family, friends and all who knew him."

Action4Alfie, a campaign inspired by Leigh boy Alfie Sales who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, said: "Andrew assisted us when the club very kindly organised bucket collections for Alfie. He always went above and beyond to help. Sincere condolences to his family at this sad time. RIP Andrew xxxx"

Graham Emmerson said: "Such sad news, deepest condolences to his family and friends at this devastating time. I know he was Leigh through and through and I am sure he will be remembered fondly by the Club and by the game as a whole."

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Jonathan Simpkin said: "Spent the last 13/14 working years of my life with Andrew. He was without a doubt the most selfless individual I have ever met. He would do anything for anyone. No questions. No agenda. God bless you my friend."

James Standing said: "A true gentleman in every sense of the word, a man who took the club and his work to his heart and created many happy memories for all of us that knew and worked with him.

"He will no doubt be at the stadium in the sky (Hilton Park) with many others that have passed through the gates of both HP & those upstairs.

"A very sad day. Rest In Peace Andrew."

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