Great Britain

Welsh rugby player dies in tragic accident in Canada aged 29 as tributes paid to ‘class act’

A WELSH rugby player has been hailed a "class act" after tragically dying in an accident in Canada.

Daniel Wigley, from Llandybie, moved to Vancouver several years ago but has died in an accident in the city - just weeks after turning 29 in August.

The sportsman - described as a "genuine friend" and "talented athlete" - played for Meraloma Rugby Club in Vancouver after starting out at Llandybie.

Stuart Griffith, treasurer for Llandybie Rugby Club, said the team were "totally heartbroken" to learn of the death of "one of our own village boys".

"Daniel Wigley, a young man of immense character and stature, had lived in Vancouver for the past few years and also spent the early part of his career in London," he said, reports WalesOnline.

"However, he remained a Llandybie boy at heart and to be told of his passing has broken us as a club and as a community.

"He was the most wonderful, unassuming, polite young man you could ever to wish to meet.

"On the field he was a massive presence and a fantastic rugby player and as a club we were all so proud of him when he represented the British Columbia Team to play the Canadian national team before the last Rugby World Cup.

"Our deepest and sincerest condolences to David, Sue, Alex and Annis.

"He has been taken from us all too soon. There are no real words to explain how we all feel - we are all numb, but we are all here for you and grieving with you. RIP Dan".

Thousands of pounds has now been raised to assist his family and to pay costs for his body to be flown home to the UK.

Set up by Daniel's colleagues in Canada, the GoFundMe page has already surpassed its £10,000 goal - with more than £53,000 donated.

Organisers described Daniel as a "kind, funny, gentle giant of a friend".

"This page is to help support Dan's family with the arrangements of getting Dan home to Wales and organising the celebration of his wonderful life," the page reads.

"Dan touched a lot of people and I know many of you want to help in any way you can. On behalf of Dan's family, his gorgeous girlfriend Sacha, and many friends, thank you in advance for all your support and kind messages."

'FANTASTIC, HONEST PLAYER'

In a touching tribute, his club Meraloma said "his warm and wonderful nature quickly made him a beloved member of the Meraloma family".

A statement from the club added: "Dan was a core part of the Loma Men's Premier team in recent seasons. A class act and a fantastic, honest rugby player, Wigs also represented B.C. and Vancouver. He is gone far too soon and will be immensely missed by all who knew him.

"We send our most heartfelt condolences to his family and many friends back home in Wales, at Llandybie, here in Vancouver, and around the world."

Daniel also played for Hampstead, joining the team in 2015 before being crowned their player of the season in 2018.

The club has described him as "an outwardly shy young man fiercely proud of his Welsh heritage and an intense competitor on the field."

Head coach Peter Breen added: "He had no enemies and spread joy whenever he was in the room, pitch, gym or changing room.

"I did not award him man of the match and in the group huddle after the game he said very modestly: 'Not being funny Pete, but if I don’t get man-of-the-match after scoring six tries, what do I have to do?'"

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