news

Touching tributes as family and friends say goodbye to dog attack victim David Ellam

His great love of Huddersfield Town was a key feature in the funeral service

Loyalty, dedication to volunteering and a love of Huddersfield Town were the key themes at the funeral of David Ellam.

The much-loved 52-year-old, who died in a dog attack in August as he stepped in to defend his own dog Rolo from an attack, was laid to rest at Huddersfield Crematorium today.

It was standing room only as family, friends, colleagues and representatives from Town paid tribute to the popular lollipop man.

Many of the congregation wore Town shirts and colours at his family’s request.

A floral tribute in the shape of a Town shirt stood at the foot of his coffin and club ambassador Andy Booth was one of the pallbearers with Mr Ellam’s coffin covered in a signed Town flag.

And while there was sadness at his loss, there were laughs too as anecdotes of his life were shared.

Celebrant Sharon Rushworth led the service and, speaking on behalf of his family, told the congregation: “It is hard to make sense of what is senseless. Dave loved Rolo so much that he gave his life defending his pal.”

Niece Imogen and nephews Henry and Martin wrote moving tributes to their uncle, describing him as “the best uncle ever” and like a “second parent.”

Mr Ellam’s community service was singled out for much-deserved praise.

He carried out DIY for the YMCA and volunteered with the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) where he befriended others and did odd jobs for them.

It was through his voluntary work with the RVS’s isolation and elderly campaign that he and one of the men he befriended, Gordon, were invited to Downing Street and met then Prime Minister David Cameron and the cast of Strictly Come Dancing.

He volunteered with Carers Count and spent time with two men so their wives could have some respite. He took them for walks, to museums or simply chatted to them.

His love of children was evident through his work as a lollipop man at Paddock Junior and Infant School.

The congregation were told he would pick a flower each morning and give it to a child to make them smile.

“He loved the children and they loved him”, Ms Rushworth said.

Dog attack victim David Ellam's family describe their grief - and how they plan to move forward

They heard about his early life living above a Birkby chippy and his jobs included working as a publican and his love of dogs.

A life-long season ticket holder, it was through his love of Huddersfield Town that he joined forces with Andy Booth for a walking football project. Despite Mr Ellam’s back problems, he became the project team manager.

Pall bearers included Huddersfield Town Ambassador Andy Booth (right).

Now his loved ones are raising funds in his memory for the Huddersfield Town Foundation and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Staff and children at the Paddock school are thinking of fundraising ideas and they held a special assembly.

The school is also installing a bench to remember him.

Deputy headteacher Katie Meyer said: “It will be called the Hoodie Bench. It will be moulded with the lollipop sign and it will be a lasting reminder of David.

“He was such a big part of their school life. The children would see him everyday and because he was such a friendly person they enjoyed talking to him. We’ll all remember him fondly.”

View full mobile page