‘You were more than a friend to me’: Tributes to dad-of-one

Scarborough's Grand Hotel

Scarborough's Grand Hotel

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Tributes have been paid to a Haydock man who was found dead near a seaside resort hotel while on a weekend away with his girlfriend.

Ralph Leyland, 36, was found outside the Grand Hotel in Scarborough suffering from various injuries and later died.

Three men were later arrested in connection with the dad-of-one’s death but have since been released on police bail.

Mr Leyland, a residential care worker, was a popular figure in amateur rugby union circles and played for Ruskin Park for several years before an eye injury forced him to hang up his boots.

The former Haydock High pupil was also a keen cyclist.

A club spokesman said: “Ralph was an ever present personality in the late 90s, and part of the now legendary undefeated Terry Price third team, through to the mid 00s; unfortunately an eye injury and real life halted his first team rugby.

“Ralph was a consistent, passionate supporter of the club and attended many a game, went on many a tour and end of season presentation!

“Most recently, Ralph had dusted off his boots and played in several charity games.

“This basically summed him up!

“Ruskin Park was a massive part of his life and his memory will live on in every future game played, we will do you proud!”

Others took to social media to pay their own, personal tribute.

Mark Crellin wrote: “Ralph, you were more than a friend to me, you were like a brother. I will never forget you and I miss you every second of the day, you were the life and soul of the party, a funny, caring guy with a massive heart of gold.”

Simon Taylor Ralph added: “We were fortunate to become friends over 20 years ago and had some great times. I am still in deep shock and will miss you every day. You were like a little brother.”

Rachel Heyes said: “What a funny, lovely, likeable person; always a laugh to be had with Ralph.”

Geoff Parr added: “Spent a lot of time with Ralph and his family down at Ruskin as a kid and he was a wonderful lad.

“My thoughts are with his family and close friends. RIP Ralf. A true gent

Mr Leyland leaves his six-year-old son Charlie.

His funeral took place at St Helens Crematorium, while an inquest has been opened and adjourned in the North Yorkshire town.