HUNDREDS of friends and relatives turned out to bid a fond farewell to a South Yorkshire teacher, athlete and ice-dance star whose body was found hanged at his home.
Father-of-three Tim Drake, a PE teacher at Milton Special School in Swinton, was found dead at his house in Doncaster Road, Goldthorpe, near Barnsley.
Mr Drake, aged 45, had been a member of the Great Britain triathlon team, had competed in gruelling Iron Man and marathon races, and won the Hallam FM Ice Factor competition with ice-dance co-star Helen James-Green.
More than 100 family members, friends and colleagues gathered at Ardsley Crematorium, Barnsley, to pay tribute to the former soldier.
His sister Beverley said: “All we know at this stage is that he had a history of depression. He was the life and soul of every party and absolutely loved his job.”
Milton Special School headteacher Brenda Hughes told the congregation: “While working with the children he was gentle, kind and caring.
“His skills were recognised at our recent OFSTED inspection. He was an outstanding teacher.”
His 16-year-old son Seb paid his own tribute and said he was “the greatest man who ever lived”.
“In my eyes you will always be my hero,” he added.
In 2007 Mr Drake represented Great Britain at the Triathlon World Championships in France, just months after undergoing an operation to have part of his stomach removed.