TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular football stalwart who suddenly died.
Friends and family paid respect to Noel Jones, a former Ruthin, Llandyrnog and Denbigh footballer at his funeral last week (December 27).
Mr Jones was well known in the county for his hard work raising money for sport groups and was a founder member and manager of the Llandyrnog United Football Club and the Llandyrnog Sports Association.
Mr Jones, 66, leaves behind wife Joyce and three sons, Sion, Nathan and Daniel.
He worked for the Ministry of Agriculture from 1963 for Ruthin and Caernarfon before retiring.
Paying tribute to his childhood friend, Gareth Lewis, chairman from Llandyrnog United FC, said: “I’ve known him since we played together in summer league when I was about 10-years-old.
“It’s was a massive shock, the whole community is devastated.
“He was Mr Llandyrnog, he was involved in everything that was going on.”
Mr Jones held various charity events to raise money for sporting groups including organising quizzes in The Golden Lion.
“If it wasn’t for Noel the Llandyrnog Sport Association would not have come about,” said Mr Lewis.
“Everything that’s there now would not be there, he did loads of fund raising to help get the grants for the pavilion.
“But Noel was that kind of person he was liked by everyone, no one had a bad word to say against him.
“If anything needed doing or anyone needed help he would be there,” he added.
Hundreds turned out for Mr Jones’ funeral including former footballers who played with him 30 years ago.
“I’ve never seen the church as full before, people were standing all around the alter and outside,” said Mr Lewis.
“It was the biggest funeral Llandyrnog has ever seen and it was like a whose who of footballers from years ago.”
Mr Jones was also a founder member of Llandyrnog’s winter-league club and secretary of Llandyrnog Sports Association.
Peter Wilson, Llandyrnog United FC committee member and church warden at the funeral, said: “He was very popular, young and former footballers attended the service as well as farmers he worked with.
“He was born and bred in Llandyrnog, he did so much for the town, he’ll be sadly missed.”