Tributes have been paid to a football coach from Milton Keynes who died of a suspected heart attack while on holiday last week aged just 52.
Gary Hawksworth, who was first team coach at Aylesbury United, and also used to work at Buckingham Town, has been described as a ‘funny guy’ who ‘loved football’ by the Ducks’ manager Glyn Creaser while United chairman Graham Read said he was ‘passionate about the club’.
Mr Hawksworth was on holiday in the Maldives with his partner Coral when he died of a suspected heart attack.
The 52-year-old lived in Milton Keynes and was a keen supporter of Championship side Middlesbrough.
He leaves behind his partner Coral and two daughters.
A minute’s applause was held in memory of Mr Hawksworth ahead of United’s league match against Fleet Town.
Mr Hawksworth joined the club in 2009 and was part of the backroom team alongside previous manager Joyce and current boss Creaser.
Mr Creaser said: “He was a funny guy who loved his football and always made time to chat with the players.
“He had a lot of respect for our skipper Jack Wood and thought highly of him.
“He is a massive loss to the club and had a real bond with the players.
“It is very tragic what has happened but I decided to tell the players the news once I knew rather than waiting until just before the game.
“I felt the applause was the right way to remember him.”
During his time with the Ducks, the club won the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division Cup and finished runners-up in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division.
Chairman Graham Read added: “I remember driving down to an artificial grass conference with him and his love for the club came across then.
“He had a real passion for the club and he kicked every ball.”