TRIBUTES have been paid to a keen wheelchair rugby player.

Kevin Williams, known as Kev, played for the North Wales Dragons based at Plas Madoc Leisure Centre and died suddenly at home on January 11.

Family and friends say the death has come out of the blue even though Mr Williams suffered from kidney problems caused by being paralysed in an accident when he was 22-years-old.

Speaking from Birkenhead where Mr Williams was born, his mum Lesley Williams, 59, said: “Everybody loved him.

“He was incredible and one of the most thoughtful people.”

Lesley said the initial cause of death is thought to be due to breathing difficulties but a full inquest will be heard to determine an official cause.

Mr Williams was paralysed from the waist down and classed as tetraplegic after an accident in Italy when he dived into the shallow end of a swimming pool.

Lesley said that despite the devastating accident her son managed to get on with his life and didn’t let being wheelchair bound stop him.

After under going therapy in Oswestry, Mr Williams decided to stay in the Wrexham area rather than return to Birkenhead.

“He loved volunteering and loved going to festivals and loved music,” Lesley added.

“He also loved playing rugby.”

Mr Williams, who lived at Ffordd Llanerch, Penycae, with his friend and carer Chris Ward, joined wheelchair rugby club the North Wales Dragons when it started in 2005.

He was the treasurer and took part in twice weekly training sessions as well as tournament and friendly matches.

Club coach Tony Stackhouse paid tribute to Mr Williams, who had also lived in Coedpoeth before moving to Penycae.

Tony said: “The 35-year-old was a forward for North Wales Dragons and was always known as a cheerful, helpful, fun loving and friendly man.

“Kev was renowned for his love of life, and sport. He was honest, caring, and kind, with a great sense of humour.

“He brought so much happiness and love to his family and all his friends.

“He was such a nice guy and so young – the news of his death has stunned everyone. We will miss him terribly.

“He was a very popular man who was very dedicated on the court – he always gave 100 per cent.

“He will be sadly missed by his club, team, and the sport of wheelchair rugby.”

Mr Williams’ funeral will be held on Friday at Pentrebychan Crematorium at 2pm.

Donations in memory may be given to the North Wales Dragons and to Spinal Injury Research.