Yorkshire tree surgeon, 27, died in freak accident while working in North York Moors National Park

Charley Purkiss-McEndoo playing for Harrogate RUFC
Charley Purkiss-McEndoo playing for Harrogate RUFC
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A keen rugby player died in a freak accident while felling trees in the North York Moors National Park.

Charley Purkiss-McEndoo, 27, passed away in May but an inquest into his death was held in Skipton last week.

He lived in Aske, near Richmond, and had played as a 1st XV prop for Harrogate RUFC since 2016. His previous clubs included Darlington Mowden Park and Otley.

A coroner found that a seemingly healthy-looking branch on a neighbouring tree fell on Charley after he had safely felled the tree he was working on. His colleague found him with serious injuries after returning from refuelling his chainsaw.

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It's thought Charley unknowingly moved into the path of the 16-stone branch to allow the oak he was felling to fall.

Charley and his colleague were working on forestry clearance in Shutt Wood on the Kirby Knowle estate in the North York Moors National Park.

He died later in hospital.

His death was ruled an accident as he had been following the correct safety procedures at the time.

Charley's father runs a countryside management business and he has two siblings, Rosey and Ben. His funeral took place in June at St Agatha's Church in Gilling West.

The former Richmond School pupil's Facebook page shows him posing for photos with fellow tree surgeons wearing protective equipment.

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A memorial rugby match was played at Darlington Mowden Park in September, with funds raised going to the Great North Air Ambulance. Over £3,300 was donated to a Justgiving page.

Harrogate RUFC club statement

Harrogate RUFC director of rugby Dave Doherty paid tribute to Charley in the Harrogate Advertiser when his death was announced in May:-

“Charley was a wonderful, humble person. There are no words to describe this tragedy.

“He will be missed terribly by all. He was the heart and soul of our team and you just cannot replace characters like him.

“Charley was honest, courageous and passionate both on and off the pitch. He stood for all of the values we have as a club and was fundamental to so much of what we did out on the field of play.

“He brought out the best in everyone around him, especially at game-time.

“Charley was a massive part of our club and I know that we were a massive part of his life. He was incredibly passionate about his rugby.

“To see him cut down in his prime with so much of his life ahead of him is terribly sad, but he was so well thought of and had so many friends that I know he will always be remembered.”

His team-mate and captain Jake Brady added:-

“We had heard that Charley had an accident and was in hospital, but when it’s lads our age you always just think that they’ll bounce back and be okay.

“Obviously I knew he was quite poorly, though nobody expected this. When the news arrived that he had died it was really, really shocking.

“There’s disbelief and sadness being felt across two clubs because he was loved everywhere he went.

“His death has sent shockwaves. I know a lot of the boys at Harrogate are really cut up because he was such a pillar of that team.

“He was just a nice kid, an all-round top bloke and the type of person who you wanted in your side.”