Tributes paid to popular sportsman

Gary Hallas
Gary Hallas

HUNDREDS of mourners gathered on Wednesday to pay their respects to a popular sportsman who died from a serious heart condition.

Gary Hallas, 42, died in Dewsbury and District Hospital two weeks ago.

His funeral took place at All Saints Church, Roberttown.

His three children Elliott, 15; Joseph, 14, and Ashleigh, 11, asked mourners to wear a white rose at the proud Yorkshireman’s funeral.

Gary grew up in Liversedge with his mum Jean, dad Rodger, brother Graeme and sister Keiren.

He went to Hightown C of E School and Heckmondwike Grammar School.

After school he began work at the family business, then called Primetals in Gomersal, now GHE Stansfield in Leeds, with his dad.

Rodger said Gary became a keen sportsman at school.

He said: “He held the record for the 200 metres at Heckmondwike Grammar School for 15 years. He was a member of Dudley Hill Rugby League club in Bradford and Spen Athletic Club where he took up pole vaulting. When he was 16 he became the junior Yorkshire vaulting champion.

“He always loved cricket and played for Cleckheaton St John’s, and he was a very handy rugby player.”

Sadly his rugby career came to an end when he suffered a badly broken leg, and was left with a pin from his knee to his ankle.

When Cleckheaton St John’s closed he moved to Cross Bank Methodists, Birstall.

Rodger said: “He collected many friends over the years because of his happy- go-lucky attitude and that showed on his Facebook page once the news of his death broke. He had so many messages – it was unbelievable.”

Rodger said Gary had learnt of his heart condition earlier this year but did not tell his family.

He said: “That was fairly typical of Gary.

“There was a good number of Gary’s children’s friends who were allowed time off school to attend the funeral. People said the church had not been as full for years, and it was a jam-packed, standing room only service. The village virtually ground to a standstill.”