BALA TOWN football club has paid tribute to an influential former player who died earlier this month.

John Gareth Roberts (known as Gareth Roberts), who was born and raised on Anglesey but lived in Bala for the last forty years, died aged 71 on May 7.

Mr Roberts was a well-respected figure and a recognisable face within the town, having been headteacher at Ysgol Beuno Sant School between 1977 and 2004.

On the football field for Bala Town, he was a reliable midfielder.

A spokesperson for the club said: “Gareth played for the Lakesiders during the 1970’s after joining the Club from Aberystwyth. He was part of the Welsh Amateur Cup winning squad who went 18 games unbeaten and he saw out his playing days at Maes Tegid.

“On behalf of Bala Town Football Club we would like to send our deepest condolences to his wife Margaret and to his family and friends.”

His wife Margaret, to whom he was married for more than 47 years, said: “Gareth was a real athlete and held the triple jump record for schools on Anglesey for a long time, in fact, he might still do to this day.

“He played football of some kind until he was into his 60's and in the past represented Aberystwyth, Corwen and Bala, as well as Welsh Colleges.

“He had also played in Bala Town's Bragdy Cup competition and, although he didn't go down to Maes Tegid as often as he'd have liked to, he'd still keep an eye on the club's results."

Mr and Mrs Roberts had both been teachers before retiring at an early age. Margaret says that one of her husband's "greatest passions in life" was travelling.

Over the years, the pair, who had also lived in Corwen and Maerdy before moving to Bala, had visited the likes of Australia and New Zealand and had also taught in the Welsh-speaking region of Patagonia, Argentina, for nearly a year.

Tim Williams, who runs the popular Spirit of ‘58 shop in Bala also paid tribute to Mr Roberts, adding he was “a very skilled footballer, and a great teacher too.”

Others took to social media to pay tribute to Mr Roberts, with many describing him as a “special” footballer and “great friend”.

Another Facebook user wrote: “He would go above and beyond for the pupils of Ysgol Beuno Sant, including giving up his weekends to take us pupils on trips to Ireland and Plas Tan y Bwlch, as well as football tournaments and cross country races along the length and breadth of Wales. Nothing ever seemed to be too much trouble.”

Mr Roberts was laid to rest at Llanycil/St Beuno cemetery, during a private service given the current circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Donations are being accepted in his memory on behalf of buying medical equipment for Bala’s frontline workers.