Childhood friends of a South Yorkshire man who died in his sleep have paid tribute to their ‘irreplaceable’ pal.
Lewis Parkin, was found by his brother Dane in his bedroom at their home on Kimberworth Park Road, Kimberworth, Rotherham.
The 22-year-old Rotherham United supporter – nicknamed Bears – was training as a bus driver and had been due to take his driving test.
Friend Sam Todd, aged 22, of Louden Road, Scholes, said: “He was truly one of a kind and his flaws were often his best qualities.
“He lived for the moment and was the life of every party.
“He was a central figure in the best year of my life so far, 2010, or as we like to refer to it as ‘The Glory Years’.
“He was my motivation, my biggest critic, my alarm clock and 100 other things, but every single day he was a best friend to me.
“Life without someone like ‘Bears’ will never be the same and I mean it when I say he is truly irreplaceable.
“I will never forget him and will love him forever.”
Hundreds of friends and family paid their respects at his funeral at Thorpe Hesley Church, after his death on Thursday, February 26.
Sam Rowbotham, 22, of Farm View Road, Kimberworth, who went to school with Lewis, said: “He was unique, one of a kind.
“You will certainly struggle to come across someone like him again.
“He’d have no regrets despite his short life. He did everything he wanted.
“He could grow facial hair and a good chest rug, one of a few reasons for his nickname. He will be missed by many groups of people.”
The former bar worker enjoyed going to the gym, playing computer games and socialising with friends.
Tom Blake, 21, of Middlewood Drive, Scholes, who went to school with Lewis, said: “It was an honour and pleasure to know him. He was the most competitive person I have ever met who just didn’t want to give up.”
A special remembrance night was held at the Red Lion pub, Thorpe Hesley, which gave the whole community the chance to come together to remember the popular former Sunday League football player.