HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a much-loved dad of three and rugby coach – described as a ‘big man with a big heart and an even bigger smile’ – after he was killed in a pub attack in South Yorkshire.
Robert Hurdley, aged 45, from Dinnington, was described as a ‘real gentleman’ by members of Dinnington Rugby Club where he was a player and coach.
Mr Hurdley, who was a co-director of Specsavers in Chesterfield, leaves behind wife Alison and three young children, Thomas, Henry and Lydia.
He died after suffering a fatal head injury following the incident at the Don Jon Hotel, Maltby, on Sunday.
Mr Hurdley coached the under-12s team at the club where he had been a player for many years.
A statement on the club’s website read: “It is with great sadness that DRUFC have to announce the death of club stalwart Rob Hurdley.
“Rob has been a player, coach, sponsor and has always played a major role within the club.
“Everyone associated with DRUFC would like to offer their condolences to Rob’s family and close friends. A real gentleman.”
Naz Hassen, colleague and Specsavers co-director, said: “We have been devastated by the loss of a much-loved and respected director and are finding it difficult to come to terms with the nature of what has happened.
“Rob’s ability as a director and his witty, personal style will be sorely missed. He was an outstanding colleague, mentor and friend to all and always went above and beyond to help everyone he met.
Other friends paid tribute in an online book of condolences.
John Baldry wrote: “A big man with a big heart and an even bigger smile. It was a pleasure to have known Rob.”
Andy Hansleman said: “Rob was a funny, straight talking, caring and loyal bloke. But, it’s as an amazing dad to Thomas, Henry and Lydia that he’ll be best remembered for. A more dedicated father you will never find.”
n David Gerrard, aged 30, of Highfield Park, Maltby, appeared at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with Mr Hurdley’s murder. He was remanded in custody for a further hearing.