‘Superstar’ Rugby dad dies while playing football

Mark Lawrence
Mark Lawrence

A devoted dad who died while playing football on Sunday has been described as a “superstar”.

Mark Lawrence, 45, collapsed on the pitch in Hillmorton Road, Rugby, in front of shocked friends and family.

Desperate attempts were made to revive the player, who had just taken a free kick.

Mark, a postman for Royal Mail, was married to Jo and lived in Aqua Place.

He was a devoted dad to Melody, Ryan and Rachael.

“Mark was a wonderful, wonderful man,” said Jo.

He was well known for playing rugby and then football with Hillmorton Veterans Team.

Close friends Eugene Shaw and Richard Gosling said he would never be forgotten.

Eugene said: “He was a gentle giant with a brilliant sense of humour.”

Richard added: “Mark was a devoted family man who was loved by everyone who knew him.”

Eugene, assistant manager with the team, said he initially thought Mark was having a fit.

“I tried my best to bring him back along with the referee, Colin Jones,” he said. “We don’t know for sure what he died of yet.”

He added: “He will be missed by everyone who knew him.”

Ian Grimsley, chairman of Hillmorton FC, said the entire Hillmorton football family were deeply saddened and shocked at the loss. “Mark collapsed on Sunday morning while playing in a local vets match at the AEI ground in Hillmorton Road,” said Ian.

“Emergency services attended but were unable to resuscitate.”

Mark played for Hillmorton Football Club for many years. He has been described as a well loved and respected player and person.

“The club has lost a superstar,” added Ian.

Mark’s funeral will be held on December 18, 3.45pm, at the Heart of England Crematorium in Nuneaton.