Tributes paid to popular Fakenham rugby player who has died, aged 18

Craig Prior. Picture: Mike Wyatt

Craig Prior. Picture: Mike Wyatt - Credit: Mike Wyatt

Relatives of a popular and talented Fakenham man who has died, aged 18, have described how he lived for his family, friends and rugby.

Craig Prior died on Monday evening at his home on Jubilee Avenue, after collapsing.

The cause of his death is not yet known.

Mr Prior, a prop forward, played for Fakenham Rugby Club at senior and youth level.

The former Fakenham Infant, Junior and High School pupil also played for Norfolk youth teams and was selected for Leicester Tigers' Elite Player Development Group (EPDG).

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The Facebook page 'Rest in Peace Craig Prior' has more than 1,850 likes.

His mother Tina Prior said: 'Craig ate, slept and breathed rugby. He played with a lot of heart and his knowledge of the game was outstanding.

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'He ended up teaching things to the older players at Fakenham.

'His family, his friends and his rugby were the most important things in his life.

'He was selfless and could get on with anyone.'

Fakenham cancelled training on Tuesday and Mr Prior's friends, family and team-mates gathered for a drink in his memory.

His shirt will remain hung at his spot in the changing room for the rest of the season.

Mr Prior's family is fund-raising for a scrummage machine and bench for Fakenham Rugby Club.

His father, Andrew Prior, said: 'Craig said the machine there was rubbish and one of the last things he talked about was raising money for a new one, so we are now going to make this happen. On Tuesday night people donated £700, which is fantastic.'

His brother Roger Palmer, 34, said: 'Messages have come in from all over the country. Craig travelled with rugby and had an outgoing personality - he was constantly smiling.

'At Christmas he was going to a fancy dress party dressed as Santa Claus and a little girl thought he was Santa himself. He went along with it and hugged her and it made her Christmas. That was typical of Craig.'

Mr Prior, who was an apprentice carpenter at Fisher Bullen in Fakenham, also had a sister, Sarah Macdonald, 31.

Donations towards the scrummage machine and bench can be made by calling Mr Palmer on 07880 728412.

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