A COMMUNITY has been left heartbroken after the sudden death of a much-loved father-of-three.

Tom Bowness, 37, died after being taken ill at a rugby league event for youth teams.

The community has since rallied around his wife Cavel and children Lilly, Oscar and Amelia to raise more than £7,000 to support them.

Rugby coach Tom, of Cross Hills, was described by his club Keighley Albion as "one of the nicest humans you could ever meet".

Speaking on behalf of the family, Danny Bowness painted a similar picture of his cousin.

Danny said: "He was just a lovely, genuine, nice lad. He was full of life and hardworking.

"I can't speak highly enough of him."

Tom would often stay at Danny's mum's house when the pair were growing up.

They each shared a love for rugby league, Keighley Albion in particular, where Tom would eventually play an integral part as a player and then coach.

Tom coached the younger age groups, including one Oscar played for.

"He loved coaching him and seeing him play," Danny said.

Tom was attending a Leeds Rhinos challenge event at Butlin's Skegness, where five Albion teams were scheduled to play.

On Friday, May 10, he retired to his room early after feeling ill.

"It was supposed to be an amazing weekend. He was so looking forward to it," Danny said.

Tom was rushed to hospital and induced into a coma following a bleed on the brain. He died on Tuesday, May 14.

The Bowness family was keen to thank Keighley Albion, Leeds Rhinos and Keighley Cougars for their support.

A post on the Keighley Albion Facebook page read: "It is with an extremely sad heart that we are writing this.

"Sadly, after being taken ill at the Butlins Rhinos Challenge, we have lost one of our own.

"Tom, an open-age player for many years and more recently the coach of our under 8s and 9s, was a massive part of the club.

"He was truly one of the nicest humans you could ever meet – kind, funny and always there to help.

"He brought a massive enthusiasm to the club and to his team.

"He was loved by all and will be sadly missed by so many.

"This has left a massive hole in our hearts. We love you, Tom. Rest easy brother until we meet again."

The fundraising page can be viewed at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/KeighleyAlbionTomB