TRIBUTES have poured in for a young man killed in a car crash.
Andrew Hirst, 33, was a popular bar manager at local pubs for many years and also a well-known soccer player with clubs in the Huddersfield area.
He was also looking forward to a new future with girlfriend Simone Stringer after the couple moved into their first home together about nine months ago.
“It’s just so tragic”, said his father, Derek, who lives with wife Margaret in West Bretton.
The couple have another son, Richard.
Andrew died early on Sunday when his prized Subaru Impreza left the road between the Kayes Arms and the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield Road at Grange Moor and crashed into a wall.
An inquest was opened in Wakefield yesterday and was adjourned for further police inquiries.
Andrew was bar manager at The Travellers Rest on Hopton Lane in Mirfield run by Rodger Hodgkinson and his wife, Christine.
Derek Hirst said his son – who was educated at West Bretton School and Horbury Comprehensive School – had loved his career in the pub trade.
“He worked for years with Rodger at The Black Bull in Midgeley and when he bought the Travellers Rest in Mirfield some years ago he asked Andrew to work there for him,’’ said Mr Hirst.
“He really enjoyed his work. He met Simone more than three years ago and they got their first home in Lupset, Wakefield, last Christmas and were really happy.”
Mrs Hodgkinson said: “Andrew was such a lovely lad, quietly spoken and very good at his job.
“He was an absolute gentleman. The customers are in a state of shock. They just can’t believe what’s happened.”
Andrew was a footballer all through his teenage years and his 20s, playing for teams including Ossett Trinitarians, Mexborough and Grange Moor before joining Huddersfield District League side Scissett, where he played for a number of years.
Scissett chairman Mick Cartledge said: “Andrew was highly regarded at the club. He was a quiet, unassuming lad who was very reliable. He was spot on for us and would play anywhere.”
Andrew began at left back, but also played on the left in midfield and was a natural left-footed player.
“It’s really sad,’’ said Mr Cartledge. “He’s a great loss.
“He played in all our three teams and has been involved in promotions, relegations and cup finals with us.’’
Andrew was also a keen fan of Liverpool FC, although his work meant he could not get to many games.
“He loved sport, especially football and pool,” said his father.
“He played pool for a pub team, the Butchers Arms in Wakefield, and if ever he lost he would be really grumpy about it for a day.
“But he always got over it and went about with a smile on his face.”
Police are still investigating how the cash happened and have appealed for witnesses.
Anyone who saw the Subaru or the accident is asked to contact Sgt Paul Denton at Huddersfield traffic police on 01484 436846 or 436847.