Heartfelt tributes paid at service of thanksgiving for popular footballer from Lowestoft

Funeral of Darren Boyd at St Mark's Church Oulton Broad.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Funeral of Darren Boyd at St Mark's Church Oulton Broad.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to a popular Lowestoft footballer, who was 'much-loved' and will be sorely missed.

Darren Boyd pictured with his family

Darren Boyd pictured with his family - Credit: Archant

Friends and family packed St Mark's Church, in Oulton Broad, yesterday (Thursday) for a service of thanksgiving for the life of Darren Boyd, after the father-of-two died when he was hit by a train on January 2 this year.

A moving poem written by a friend of Mr Boyd, was read out at yesterday's service by another footballing friend.

Simon West decided to pen the poignant verse as a tribute to how Mr Boyd would often make up little poems on-the-spot in the dressing room as they would prepare for games. It was read out by Waveney FC manager George Millington.

Mr Boyd's wife Sharon said much time was spent choosing the most meaningful poems and songs, which included the hymn – Father Hear the Prayer We Offer – that was sung at their wedding and Joseph Furdeck's poem The Beautiful Game.

Addressing those present at the service, Canon Ian Bentley said: 'This is a death too soon – especially for a much-loved son, husband, father, devoted family man and friend.'

After the service a private cremation was held at Gorleston Crematorium, followed by a gathering at the Hotel Victoria.

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Mr Boyd, 43 – who worked as a porter at Morrisons in Pakefield – played football for Waveney, Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth, Hearts of Oak and Kirkley and Pakefield football clubs.

Close friend Trevor Hook paid tribute to Mr Boyd during yesterday's service.

He said: 'I have never met anyone who had a greater desire to win a football match. His enthusiasm was infectious. He was a true leader who always led by example. The number of people here today is testimony to how loved Darren Boyd was by his peers – its heartwarming.'

Described by his family as a 'brilliant son, brother and devoted uncle' and 'the best dad you could ever wish for,' ahead of the service, Mrs Boyd said: 'I'm hoping the service itself will be a thank you for his life and for being such a nice bloke, and remembering him as the man he was. Darren will be looking down and saying: 'Don't make a big fuss,' but I hope he is really proud when he looks down and sees how much everyone loved him.'

Would you like to pay tribute to Darren Boyd? Email mark.boggis@archant.co.uk