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Tributes paid after sudden death of popular Carlisle amateur footballer

Tributes have flooded in for a popular “one in a million” amateur footballer who has died suddenly.

Mark Lakin photo
Mark Lakin

The death of former soldier and father-of-two Mark Lakin, 41, has devastated his family and friends, who described him as a devoted family man with a passion for football.

His dedication to the game was such that many in Carlisle’s Sunday league football community knew him simply as “Mr Football”.

Players at Warwick Road’s Beehive FC, the team based at the pub of the same name, vowed to pay their own unique tribute by never again fielding a player in a Number 10 shirt – the one worn by Mr Lakin during his years with the side.

Friends said his family – his wife Jayne, and their seven-year-old daughter – were devastated by their loss on Tuesday. Mr Lakin also has an older son.

“He was an absolute one in a million,” said Mr Lakin’s cousin Craig Davidson, 28, who manages Beehive FC along with fellow player Tom Devlin, 26.

“He loved to laugh and he lived life to the full. With Mark, it was family first, and football second. There’ll never be another like him.”

Another cousin, 28-year-old Tony Graham, described Mr Lakin as a “winner”.

Tom Devlin said: “We’re all still in shock. He was a big character: you’d always hear him on the pitch. But he looked after people. He made it his business to be your friend. He always left a positive impression.”

The Beehive pub’s manager, Michael Wheatley, 51, who knew Mr Lakin for 14 years, spoke of his friend’s “passion” for football, describing how he gave his all in matches and also followed his favourite side Manchester United.

He said: “Mark was mad about football. It was his passion. He retired from Beehive FC a few seasons ago but was playing with a team run from the Howard Arms on Lowther Street, Howard Rangers.

“He was full of life; a fantastic and loveable bloke; a real diamond, who was always there for people, and a generally very decent, family-orientated man.”

Howard Arms’ landlord Harry Ross said: “He was a very, very popular lad – and a good player..”

Paul Brecken runs Howard Rangers FC, where Mr Lakin was a big part of the veterans’ team, but also worked alongside him at Kingstown-based parcel firm TNT. He said: “I had known him for almost 25 years.

He had that infectious smile: once seen never forgotten, in a good way.”

Simon Dickson had been involved with many of the same teams as Mr Lakin for about 20 years.

“He was also my friend,” Mr Dickson said. “He was the life and soul of the party, always a happy-go-lucky guy.”

Mr Lakin grew up in Durranhill but lived with his family in Harraby, having moved from Botcherby only a few years ago.

Have your say

So So Sorry to hear this sad news. Our Fed Ex deliveries will never be the same again. So Sad xx

Posted by Gillian - Brooks Electrical Whitehaven on 20 September 2013 at 17:14

The one person that could cheer me up on a Monday morning... Life's never gonna be same again the worlds lost a diamond god bless love u laky xxxxxxx forever in my heart

Posted by Anon on 16 September 2013 at 11:50

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