Tributes to junior football stalwart who died in Wakefield cycling accident

Neil Hunter was the 'heart and soul' of Crofton Juniors
Neil Hunter was the 'heart and soul' of Crofton Juniors
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Tributes have been paid to a “lifeblood” organiser of the junior football set-up in West Yorkshire following his death in a cycling accident.

Fellow clubs, officials and players have reacted with shock after Crofton Junior Football Club secretary Neil Hunter died last week.

The father of two, aged 47, was involved in a collision with a van on Doncaster Road, in Wakefield, on Thursday morning.

Police are investigating the incident.

Gordon Makin, the former treasurer of Crofton Juniors, knew Mr Hunter, who spent over a decade as secretary, for more than 30 years.

“It was so unexpected and it has come as a deep shock to everyone who knew him,” he said.

“Neil was a doer, not a talker. He appreciated hard work and he expected everyone else to work as hard as he did. He was one of the lifebloods of the club and he’ll be very sadly missed.”

Crofton Juniors, which has more than 180 young members, held a minute’s silence in honour of Mr Hunter last weekend. Other clubs also paid their respects.

Meanwhile, numerous tributes have been posted online to Mr Hunter, who worked for Ossett-based shop fitters Harte.

Writing on Facebook, Simon Kelly, of Ossett Albion, said: “During my years of coaching I can honestly say that Crofton Juniors are one of the friendliest and well run clubs in the area.

“Neil was very highly respected within his club and dedicated to the cause – he will be sadly missed by the footballing fraternity.”

Richard Sullivan added: “He was the heart and soul of the club and will be missed by all.”

Carrie Kavanagh said Mr Hunter was “a huge loss to our club” adding “It won’t be the same without him, such an amazing inspiration to our boys.”

Mr Hunter leaves sons Ross, 20, and Greg, 18, and wife Julie.

Arrangements have not yet been made for his funeral.