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Tributes to ‘perfect son’ Will Travis, 26, after his sudden death

Will Travis, who has died at the age of 26.
Will Travis, who has died at the age of 26.

Heartfelt tributes have poured in for a talented rugby player who has died aged 26.

Police are investigating an incident after Ripponden-raised Will Travis died from a head injury after a fall at a friend’s house in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The tragedy occurred close to his own home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, after he had moved there from Calderdale two years ago.

Today his heartbroken mother Gillian gave a moving impression of how proud she was of her son.

She said: “You can see from all the messages on social media. The overriding thing that comes through was his kindness.

“If a girl didn’t have anybody to walk them home at night, Will would be the one to do that. So many people have said that sort of thing - that he looked after them.

“He could turn his hand to anything and do it really well, but as a parent, he was so caring. Before you even got your coat off he would have said ‘Mum, do you want a cup of tea?’, it’s that sort of thing that made me so proud of him.

“He was everybody’s mate, everybody adored him. From a mum’s point of view, I always thought he was the perfect son. Now I realise that everybody else thought that as well.”

His father Mark said: "I knew that Will had achieved a lot in his sporting challenges and that his career had taken on a meteoric rise over the last two years, but I am humbled by the tributes on Facebook and the revelations of his work for others that he never mentioned.

"He was so modest and I am so proud that he has made me a father who can truly say that he is now standing on the shoulders of a giant."

A straight-A student at Crossley Heath School and a natural sportsman, Will enjoyed a rugby tour to Australia and New Zealand when with the school's First XV and was an accomplished skier and snowboarder, enjoying a ski season abroad working as a physiotherapist.

As a youngster he achieved a Gold level Duke of Edinburgh award and went on to work as a lifeguard at swimming pools across Calderdale.

Through his teenage years he accelerated through the ranks at Old Crossleyans RUFC, where he starred as a talented scrum-half.

He studied physiotherapy at Birmingham University, where his sporting achievements continued, and having worked at Calderdale Royal Hospital, Will went on to continue his work for the NHS as an assessor for people with disabilities and mental health illnesses.

Old Crossleyans chairman Howard Cooper said: “Everyone at The Old Crossleyans RUFC are deeply shocked and devastated at hearing the tragic news about Will and our sincerest condolences go to his family and close friends.

"As a player he was a very talented scrum half, very fit, fast, tenacious and strong in defence.

"In fact he was every coach's dream, hardly ever missing training and willing to play in any position when required to the benefit of the team, placing the club above his personal preferences.

"Above all, he was a polite well mannered young man who was extremely popular with his team mates and members of the club.

"He left us a couple of seasons ago when he re-located to Aylesbury to pursue and further his working career and joined the towns rugby club, where he obviously made an impact as they appointed him captain in his second season, a position I am sure he would have achieved at some time had he stayed with The Crocs.

"On a personal note, having coached him as a young teenager his loss is very hard to come to terms with."

Since moving down south, Will had taken up a senior position with Aylesbury RFC, who's club chairman Pail Milham said: "All at Aylesbury Rugby Club are struggling to come to terms with Will’s death.

"The loss of Will leaves a huge void in every section of our club, from the minis and juniors he worked with, the seniors he played with and the club members he socialised with.

"Everybody knew Will and everybody loved him.

"Affectionately nicknamed “Pinky Reuben”, by his team mates, Will was one of those guys who excelled at everything he did and he used his abilities to not only be the best he could be but to take others with him.

"Will joined us two seasons ago and very quickly secured the 1st XV starting 9 spot, although in truth, he could play any position from 9 to 15 and not look out of place. He was a gifted rugby player.

"The impact this tragedy has had on the club despite his short time with us is testament to his popularity.

"We will remember Will with his ever-present beaming smile and we will miss him."

Will’s funeral will take place at Stones Methodist Church on Friday August 3 from 2pm. Mourners are welcomed to Old Crossleyans afterwards.