TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Bala rugby player who was left paralysed after a game six years ago.
Bryan Davies, affectionatelly known as Yogi, died on Friday at his home in Bala with his wife, Sue and children Teleri and Llan by his side.
In April 2007 Bryan captained for Bala Rugby Club against local rivals Nant Conwy but just a few minutes into the match Bryan suffered a broken back when a scrum collapsed.
Bryan spent the next 18 months in the Spinal Injuries Centre at the Southport and Formby General Hospital in Merseyside.
During this time family, friends and rugby fans across Wales and beyond raised over £200,000 to help pay for an extension to his home accommodating a wheelchair lift, ramps and hoists.
Thousands of people contributed, such as Bala councillor and friend Dilwyn Morgan who cycled all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groat’s and Ifor Williams Trailers, where Bryan worked for 12 years, donated £10,000 to the fund.
Dilwyn said: “The accident happened six and half years ago which showed he had real determination and that sums him up.
“He was such a fighter, he was in hospital for over two years but was determinded to come home.
“The local community and even the wider area raised a lot of money to build the family home up so he could come home to live.
“He could not understand why people were so kind to him.”
The funeral will be held on Saturday, September 14 at 11am at Maes Gwyniad.
Dilwyn said: “Bryan kept himself busy by coaching the under sevens from his chair, he would go onto the pitch.
“He was also involved in charity to build a new extension for the Bala Rugby Club to have a kitchen.
“He’s still involved with the community and very much with the ruby club, he still loved the game despite what happened.
“Bryan has made his own funeral arrangements, he’s written it all down and left instructions for what he wants.
“It’s quite ironic he wanted his funeral on the pitch where the accident happened.”
Bryan wrote a book called Mewn Deg Eiliad (In Ten Seconds) and the English version about Bryan’s life history and how the accident changed his life will be out in a couple of months.
He was also setting up a charity called The Yogi Foundation which would help families like his own.
Bala Rugby chairman, Tony Parry said: “It’s gutting, really.
“He wasn’t well, but we didn’t know he was that bad.
“It’s a shock to most of us.
“We are all still shocked with the news.”
The Bala Rugby team will be playing this weekend and will be holding a minute’s silence in tribute to Bryan.
Tony has asked Alwyn Jones, Welsh Rugby Union director, to encourage North Wales matches to have a minute’s silence in each game.|