TRIBUTES have been paid to a “doting father” and “well loved” family man who died suddenly at the age 37.
Family and friends are today saying goodbye to former rugby league player Kenny Oldroyd.
Known across Scarborough for his sense of humour and “that laugh”, Kenny was a proud father of two.
He died on December 2 following a short illness.
His parents Ken and Sandra, and sisters Leanne Oldroyd and Karen Brown, described him as a best friend to his family.
They said: “He was a well known popular lad, everyone knew him.
“At the same time he was a devoted family man, who lived for his kids.
“If there was ever a situation he would always be there for us all. He would put himself last and always made you feel good.
“We are all devastated. He was so young and had so much to live for.
“He was our best friend every day, we will be lost without him.”
Kenny also leaves his girlfriend Claire Robinson, who was his childhood sweetheart at Scalby School, his daughter Shona, nine, and son Kody, two.
In a moving tribute to her father Shona described Kenny as “wonderful” and “the best dad in the world”.
Kenny was well known in Scarborough for playing rugby, and was a regular feature on the Scarborough All Blacks side.
He idolised his father Ken, and from an early age wanted to follow in his footsteps as a rugby player.
Kenny, who lived in Ling Hill and worked as a builders labourer, hit the headlines in the early 1990’s when he appeared on the front page of the Scarborough Evening News under the headline “Kenny My Hero”.
The story was about Kenny saving a little girl from being attacked by a dog in Falsgrave Park.”
“That was just what he was like,” said his father. “He would do anything for anyone.”
Kenny’s best friend Duncan Oldham said: “I am absolutely devastated. He would always put a smile on your face as a result of his really infectious laugh. He was simply the best. Myself and his family just cannot come to terms with the loss. He is irreplaceable.”
Following his death a page has been set up in his memory on social networking website facebook.
Almost 150 people have ‘liked’ the page, with hundreds of messages paying tribute to Kenny.
Sheldon Backhouse wrote: “R.I.P kenny, shall be missed by many and forgotten by none Xx”
Caron Jamieson said: “RIP kenny lad such a shame and a waste, why does it happen to all the good ones xxx”
Helen Stear’s tribute said: “Although we weren’t in any classes together at school you always spoke whenever I saw you. You were always the great entertainer. RIP xx”
Mark Blackford wrote: “I’m so sorry to hear of this sad news, happy school and many a rugby one, one tough hard kid physically. but a real character and laugh every time! RIP mate and condolences to all the family...you’ll be missed.”
Another tribute from Lex Budda said: “Absolute shocker Kenny was a total boro legend and a larger than life character. It was always great to have him on our team at rugby. And what amazed me with Kenny was he was a really bright lad and some people never realised that.
“No matter how long it was when I saw him it was like we were back at school. I feel for his family and I dont know how u cope with losing someone like him. He leaves a massive loss. I was so lucky to be his friend.”
Kenny’s funeral service is being held today at St Mark’s Church at 11.45am.