Tributes have been received for a former footballer and accountant from Wrexham who passed away last week.

Derek Cole died suddenly last Wednesday at the age of 70.

Originally from South Shields, Derek moved to the brand new new Pentre Maelor housing estate in Wrexham at the age of 11 with his Mother Hilda, Father Fred and two brothers, Colin and Roger.

Derek was a very fit and active man throughout his life. He attended St David’s school and played for several of the local football teams in his youth, including Druids FC, Brymbo FC and Connah's Quay Nomads during the seventies.

After that Derek became a regular at the Sports Connection from its opening and more recently the Simply Gym.

Not content to settle down, Derek took up horse riding in his 50s and enjoyed attending and competing with his beloved horse Drum in local shows such as the Llanarmon Show and the Glyn Ceiriog Show with his wife Audrey.

After his playing days were over, Derek founded local accountancy firm Howell, Morris and Cole, based on Brook Street, sorting out the books of many a Wrexham trader.

As well as this, Derek was also an enthusiastic member of the 21 Club, a big fan of classic British comedy and music and enjoyed the odd dram of whiskey after a ride.

Derek's daughter, Alex said: "He loved life and always had a joke to tell, a song to sing and a glass to raise."

"He was a wonderful family man, very caring and loving. He was much loved by his wife Audrey, daughters Pippa and Alex and stepdaughters, plus his assorted grandchildren, and extended family.

"If you ever needed him he was there. Whether it was DIY or emotional support. He could turn his hand to every job in the house and nothing broken was beyond his repair skills. He'd build you up when you needed a boost, push you on to do better, or take you down a peg when you got ahead of yourself. He always had great advice and insight which he used with care and discretion.

"He was incredibly generous and loved nothing more than helping people from all walks of his life. For a man of numbers he had a surprisingly artistic streak and a flair for design, as well his handyman capabilities.

"He had an irrepressible sense of humour and love of life. He always pushed himself to do more and better. He epitomised ‘work hard, play hard’ whether at home, at work, on the football pitch, on the horse or in the gym.

There will be a memorial service for Derek next Tuesday at 11am in St Giles. No flowers but donations to Druids FC youth, Welsh Air ambulance and Hack Horse Sanctuary.