FRIENDS have been paying tribute to a popular Wyke man who was killed in a tragic road accident at the weekend.
Edward McGuinness, 43, was walking across Huddersfield Road, Low Moor, after an evening out when he was knocked down by a Vauxhall Corsa.
The accident outside the Drop Kick pub at about 9.30pm on Saturday.
Mr McGuinness, who lived in Huddersfield Road, Wyke, was married to Tracey. Just four months ago the couple had celebrated the birth of Connor, their first son together. He also had another child from a previous relationship.
Mr McGuiness was a successful businessman and well known in rugby circles.
He owned a home repair and refurbishment business with business partner Karl Harrison and they opened EK Interiors, a kitchen and bathroom showroom in Bradford Road, Cleckheaton, in October last year.
Mr Harrison, who first met Mr McGuinness when they were both working for Bradford Bulls, said: "We met eight years ago when I was coach at the Bradford Bulls. Eddie joined as a fitness conditioner and then when I went to Salford he came with me.
"After the rugby we became business partners, but we were also very close friends. My heart goes out to his family and wife Tracey. He was a smashing fellow and I can't speak highly enough of him."
Mr McGuinness began his rugby career playing for Wyke Rugby League Club, where he later returned to coach. He also played for Sedbergh Rugby League and worked as the fitness conditioner for Bradford Bulls and Salford City Reds.
He had been to watch the semi-final of the Bradford Cup on Saturday afternoon to support Sedbergh and then went back to the Drop Kick pub, where he was a regular, to have a drink with friends.
Jason Whomack, chairman of Wyke Rugby League, was in the Drop Kick pub with Mr McGuinness just hours before he died.
"I called in and when I went to the bar Eddie was there and we got chatting," said Jason.
"I've known him for years. I didn't see him all that often, but when I did, we always had a chat. I left before him, said 'see you later, take care', like you do and that was it. I went to a pub a bit further down the road and it was when I came out of the pub that I found out what had happened.
"It was a real shock. He was a lovely bloke and he will be missed by all."
Alan Terry, president of WRLC, who had been friends with Mr McGuinness for over 25 years, said: "He was a dear friend and he will be sadly missed. He was happy with life. He'd got his repair and refurbishment business, a new baby. Things were going well for him. It's a real tragedy."
There are messages of condolence on the ebsites of the rugby clubs he was involved with and floral tributes and rugby memorabilia have been placed at the scene of the accident.
The chairman of Salford City Reds, John Wilkinson said: "Eddie gave Salford excellent service and was a real professional who was highly regarded, not just at The Willows but throughout the game. He will be sadly missed."
A post on the Odsal Sedbergh website said: "Everyone at the club is devastated and shocked at this horrific incident. Our hearts go out to his wife Tracey and his two children, who can be assured everyone at the club will do all they can for them at this difficult time. We all loved Eddie and cannot believe what has happened."
The club will also have a minute's silence before tomorrow's game as a mark of respect.
Three 18-year-old men arrested in connection with Mr McGuinness's death have been released after questioning by police. Two were released without charge while the other was released on bail pending further inquiries.
An inquest into Mr McGuinness' death was opened and adjourned on Wednesday.
His funeral will take place on Tuesday March 17, 10.30am, at St John's Church, Bradford.