A FOOTBALL-mad Dalton man died just hours after leaving the pitch.
Craig Brook, 31, was visiting a friend for the evening after playing five-a-side football at Royds Hall High School when his heart gave out and he was rushed to hospital.
But despite the efforts of paramedics and doctors he died, on August 5, from a previously undiagnosed heart problem.
His death has devastated his tight-knit family, who have been flooded with more than 400 cards of condolence from the local community.
Craig’s brother Andrew, 41, said: “We were on holiday at the time and my sister phoned and told us that he had died.
“It was such a shock; he was such an active person. He played five-a-side four nights a week.”
Known to his friends as ‘Brooky’ Craig was heavily involved in the community through his love of sport.
Craig’s mother, Angela, held back tears at her home on Second Avenue, when she said: “He was a lovely lad.
“He would do anything for anyone. He was one in a million.
“We didn’t know about any heart problems but we have since been told that it could have happened at any time because he had an enlarged heart. He never suffered any symptoms.’’
Craig, a former Rawthorpe High School pupil, played Rugby Union for Huddersfield Juniors in his teens before his passions turned to five-a-side football.
He played at The Zone in St Andrew’s Road, Leeds Road playing fields, Almondbury High School, Colne Valley High School, and Royds Hall.
Craig stayed true to his local roots and supported Huddersfield Town but also loved Manchester United and enjoyed watching them with his older brother Andrew.
The pair had travelled to Wembley in May to watch United v Barcelona in the Champions League final.
Andrew added: “We have asked people to wear bright colours to his funeral and we know of at least one football team who have all got Man Utd shirts with his name on.
“They just want to pay a fitting tribute to him.”
Craig was also a highly regarded colleague and employee at Shaw Pallets, Slaithwaite, where he had worked for more than 10 years.
His boss Stuart Quarmby, a director of the company, said: “A great work colleague and friend, always a smile for everyone.
“He will be greatly missed by all at Shaw Pallets.
“Our thoughts are with the family at their loss of a son, brother and uncle.
“From all at Shaw Pallet, work will not be the same without him.”
Craig leaves behind parents Angela and Trevor, brother Andrew and sister Julie. He was described as a ‘doting uncle’ to his six nieces and nephews.
His funeral will be held at Kirkheaton Parish Church tomorrow at 11am.