TRIBUTES have been paid to a "gentle giant" and "much-loved" member of Wrexham rugby club. 

John Westgarth passed away on Monday, April 8, aged 64 following a brain haemorrhage.

He was a popular rugby player both in Wrexham and Llandovery and was also professional boxer until 1992. 

Born in Malta, John moved back to the UK with his family aged three where they settled in the North East. It wasn't until the early 1990's when John moved to Wrexham. 

Husband of Julie and father of Anthony, Adam, George and Scott, John leaves behind a wealth of loving family and friends all who feel incredibly blessed to have had John in their lives.

His family and friends have paid tribute to him following his sad passing. 

The Leader: John WestgarthJohn Westgarth (Image: UGC)

His family said: "John was loved by so many, he was a gentle giant who would do anything for anyone. He loved being surrounded by friends and family, he enjoyed company and would often be in the centre of it all, telling stories or sharing jokes. 

"John was professional boxer until 1992 and had 29 professional fights, he was famous for boxing 5 world champions during this time. John would often reminisce about sparring with the likes of Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis to anyone that would listen.

"In the early 1990’s John moved to Wrexham and restarted his rugby career, initially playing second row for Wrexham Rugby Club and then eventually securing a semi-professional contract with Llandovery. 

"Following this period with Llandovery, he returned to Wrexham and played for Northern Counties, captaining the team in 2000/2001 until an injury to his knee ended his rugby career.

"Since he finished playing, John continued to support the club, through playing at vets games, attending tours and social gatherings. He remained a much-loved member of the club up until his untimely passing.

"John and Julie got together in 2011 and eventually married in 2019, they had been good friends since the early 1990s and eventually found their love for each other and created a blended extended family across their adult children and partners.

"John was a loving grandparent to George and Anthony’s children as well as Julie's grandchildren.

The Leader: John Westgarth with sons Anthony and GeorgeJohn Westgarth with sons Anthony and George (Image: UGC)

"He was known for his storytelling and friends and family, would spend hours listening to his unbelievable tales only to find out that they were all in fact true!"

A spokesperson for Wrexham Rugby Club said: "It is with huge sadness the we have learnt of John Westgarth's passing.

"John was an incredible servant to Wrexham Rugby Club and a great friend to many at Wrexham Rugby Club and all those that got to know him on and off the field of play.

"You will be greatly missed by everyone."

Handel Davies from Llandovery Rugby Club added: "Off the field he was a very softly-spoken gentleman and a real fan’s favourite and is now regarded as a local legend.

"He loved playing for Llandovery and everyone loved John. He will be sorely missed by his friends and everyone who knew him and will never be forgotten for his one hundred percent wholehearted contribution on the field of play for Llandovery RFC. A friend and a gentle giant, Rest in peace, Cysga’n dawel John."

John’s Funeral will take place at Pentre Bychan Crematorium on Wednesday, May 1, at 12pm. A celebration of his life will take place following the funeral at Wrexham Rugby Club.