HUDDERSFIELD sports fans are mourning one of the town's most colourful characters.

Ian Michael `Jack' Burgin, of Dalton, has died aged 46.

Mr Burgin, a keen sportsman, played football for Rawthorpe and Berry Brow as a centre-half and snooker for Rawthorpe WMC and Lockwood.

He also had a passion for crown green bowling, playing in the Huddersfield League for Rawthorpe, Kirkheaton Cricket and Bowling Club, Lockwood Con and latterly Waterloo and New Mill in the Dearne and Don League.

Mr Burgin was also an enthusiastic member of the successful Huddersfield Inter-District side, where his presence on the green edge was often worth extra points on the scorecard.

He also competed for Holset in the Works League and lifted the Carling Merit title in the 1994-95 season for Rawthorpe WMC.

Other bowling achievements included winning the Barker Sports Handicap in 1991 and won the Hills Supplies Pairs Handicap in 1990 with David Binns.

A life-long close friend, Mick McCluskey, paid tribute.

He said: "He was a great character, the salt of the earth. In any sport that Jack played, he excelled. He was a great gentleman on a bowling green and his vocal support off it was a tremendous boost for his team."

Huddersfield Bowling Association president and friend Dougie Mellor said: "Jack was a very, very popular person. He had the type of personality that attracted people to him of all ages. He was one of the lads, be it to a 60-year-old or aged just 20.

"He had a close affinity with youngsters in sport and encouraged them in football and bowling. Jack always said what he thought and whether you agreed or disagreed with him, you always respected him."

He added: "Jack was a hugely fun character, he lived life to the full and gave a tremendous amount back. He will be greatly missed."

* His funeral will be at Huddersfield Crematorium at 3pm on Friday.