A COMMUNITY is coming to terms with the loss of a 'legend' who transformed young lives over several decades.

Hightown is mourning John Wilfred Hatfield, known as 'Wilf' who died aged 79 on June 29. His funeral, which was held last week at All Saint's Church followed by a gathering at The Travellers Rest in Hightown, both of which were packed to the rafters.

Mr Hatfield was an RE and English teacher at the former Groves school in Wrexham town centre, but it was his inspiring work and the guidance he gave outside of the classroom too, for which he will be well-remembered by generations of youngsters, particularly in the Hightown area.

He founded the Hightown youth club in 1969, was heavily involved in Llangollen Football Club and Llangollen football league, and won several awards.

In 2006 he was named 'Citizen of the Year' at the Wrexham Youth Awards, in 2008 he won the Supporting Children and Young People award and was a Hightown community awards winner, and in 2013 received a Hightown residents' award for 'lifetime contribution'.

A former Bangor University student, Mr Hatfield learned at least four languages and even acted as a Portuguese interpretor at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

Paying tribute, his nephew Graeme Green said: "He was a lovely guy and had time for everybody from all walks of life.

"He was all about the youth and community of Hightown and Wrexham.

"The amount of people who came up to me at his funeral and said 'if it hadn't been for Wilf, my life would have gone down a very different path', was amazing.

"He had a real skill for communicating with young people and helping their lives take a different route.

"The landlady at the Travellers refused to let us pay for the bar because of who he was.

"He will be sorely missed by many people."

Mr Hatfield's friend, Dale Burgoyne added: "He was an outstanding guy in Hightown and Whitegate, a total legend. People could rely on him.

"There is a book of condolence at Hightown Community Centre and the Travellers pub was standing room only after the funeral.

"Go up to anyone there and ask about Wilf and they will tell you what a difference he made.

"He did so much for the community and would always go the extra mile.

"There are a lot of people here who will miss him."

He is survived by his three nephews Graeme, John and James, and great nieces and nephews.