‘Fun-loving’ man dies at 28

Michael Land and his fiancee Louise Watling
Michael Land and his fiancee Louise Watling

A SCARBOROUGH woman has paid tribute to her “fun-loving” fiance, who tragically died aged just 28.

The funeral of Michael Land, a former university student in the town, takes place tomorrow.

He was due to marry his fiancée Louise Watling next year.

Miss Watling, formerly of Seamer Road, said Michael was an “friendly and outgoing” man, loved by all of his family and friends.

He had been accepted to appear on the BBC TV programme Dragon’s Den, and was working on a business plan for the show.

The couple met in 2005 while Michael was studying Sports and Leisure Management at the University of Hull, Scarborough campus, in Filey Road, and Miss Watling, 25, was working at the town’s Barracuda bar.

However, despite becoming good friends, their relationship did not fully blossom until 2009 when they rekindled their romance after contacting each other on Facebook.

The pair immediately became closer and Michael, who spent a summer at Scarborough Language School, in Stepney Road, was welcomed by Louise’s parents, Trevor and Janet, as well as her dog Eros.

They spent time in Scarborough, and also at Michael’s home in Pontefract in West Yorkshire, before eventually moving in together in York and settling in Sherburn-in-Elmet.

Michael proposed to Louise while on holiday in Scotland. She said: “He was such a really friendly and outgoing person and was always up for a laugh.

“He had a real get up and go attitude and was so genuine and honest too.

“He always used to get frustrated when someone said they couldn’t do something.

“Mike always said anyone could do something if they wanted to.

“He was totally passionate about his business but also loved his sport as well and loved his little nephew Reagan.”

The son of Gary and Ruth, and brother to Frazer, Michael was an avid sports fanatic and was a junior chess champion and keen snooker player as well as an avid Leeds United fan.

However, his passion for athleticism also saw him drawn to rugby league team Castleford Tigers, who he watched home and away avidly.

His fervour for rugby continued to grow and he signed to play for West Yorkshire team Crofton and then Doncaster Academy before enjoying a three-month stint in America, coaching a budding team in Seattle.

After graduating, Michael moved up the rugby pyramid to sign for Keighley Cougars.

He became a committed businessman and headed up his own firm Yorkshire Fitness, with his acumen making the venture an instant success.

He had been accepted to appear on the BBC show Dragons Den, and was working on a business plan for the show.

His funeral will take place at 2.40pm tomorrow at Pontefract Crematorium.