TRUBUTES have poured in from the rugby league community and beyond following the death of Leigh Centurions popular IT manager Andrew Parkinson, aged just 35.

Andrew's dad Fred wrote of the heartbreak the family are going through following this tragic news.

In a message on Facebook Fred explained that his youngest son had sadly died due to complications from Covid 19.

He wrote: "Most will know Andrew from his long association with The Leigh Centurions both at the LSV and Hilton Park.

"Our hearts are broken son and no words can tell of the heartbreak Mum David and I are going through. RIP big man, love from us all."

The club spoke of the devastation and heartbreak felt by the loss of a kind, friendly, helpful man with a passion for rugby league.

Centurions wrote: “Everyone at Leigh Centurions would like to send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Andrew Parkinson.

“He will be greatly missed by his colleagues and friends not just in Leigh but across the rugby league community.

“An absolute gentleman, Andrew always went above and beyond for the Club he loved.”

Following last night’s announcement shock and sorrow rippled through the sport and Leigh community with messages pouring in on social media.

Leigh hooker Liam Hood said: “Andrew had a heart of gold and always had a smile on his face will be massively missed.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester and former Leigh MP Andy Burnham posted: “So sad to hear this.

"What a loss. Andrew was a top man and a kind soul. Love to all his family.”

Widnes Vikings tweeted: “Everyone at Widnes Vikings sends their condolences to you following this devastating news. We send our best wishes to Andrew’s family & friends at this difficult time.”

And Barry Greenwood wrote: “The most pleasant kindest gentleman you could ever meet and will be a great loss to the whole RL community. RIP.”

Heartfelt tributes came from those who had worled with him at the club in years gone by.

Jonathan Hindley wrote: “Just heard about this. Really sad news. When I was a volunteer for the club he was unbelievably helpful. Funny bloke too, always made me laugh with dry wit.”

Former Leigh coach Tony Benson said: “So Sad. The loss of one very good man. He was always so kind and considerate, like all the Parkys. Condolences to the Parkinson family. RIP Andrew. The Bensons.”

And another former colleague Lyndsey Smith added: “Sad to hear .... Andrew was there when I worked there .... lovely gent .... RIP xx.”

Jon Dutton tweeted: “Incredibly sad. Thoughts and deepest sympathy to Andrew’s family, colleagues and friends.

Vince Pritchard wrote: “Absolute shocked and devastated. Andrew made a lasting impression and was kind considerate and will be solely missed.

Leigh RUFC Girls tweeted: “Always sad to hear this sort of news, but especially when it's so close to home. Thinking of all Andrew's family and friends during this time.
Rick Banks: “I’m heartbroken to hear the news. Absolute gentleman who would always have a smile on his face. RIP Andrew, you will be missed by me and lots of other people who had the honour of knowing you.”

On Facebook Lynda Froud posted: “Oh my god no,Andrew was my son's friend all through primary school, such a lovely boy. This is just awful."

Angelina Sales wrote: “One of the nicest people I ever met RIP Rachael Rawson added: “I went to high school with Andrew, he was such a lovely person.

"Absolutely devastated for his family."

Andrew Peters posted: “Proper hits you for six when someone you’ve known all your life is taken way too early."

Top lad. Will be missed by many.