Gerard Sugden (Ged), landlord of the Bingley Arms and one of Bardsey’s most iconic and well-loved figures, has died at the age of 59.
Lord Sugden, as he was affectionately known by his family and friends, died on Thursday June 30 after a short battle with cancer.
Hundreds of mourners packed into Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Seacroft on Friday, July 8, to pay their last respects to the popular Bardsey man.
Ged’s son, Ryan, led the tributes to his father and said the family had received “thousands of kind messages, nice words and heartwarming stories” since his death.
He said: “He was my role model, my hero and my best friend. He was a family man and used to love being around people with a smile on his face.
“I’ll always remember him being the character he was. He was a real larger than life figure. You get to meet a lot of different people in his job and he would do anything for anybody.
“There must have been around 600 people at the funeral and there was a big party back at the pub after the service which was just as busy.
“It was just what he would have wanted, being the centre of attention, but I would have loved to have been able to turn around and see him enjoying it as well.”
Ged was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April and doctors gave him the devastating news that it had spread to his liver and lungs.
He decided to move his marriage to his long-term girlfriend Kay Sugden forward as a result and the pair married in St James’ Hospital on Saturday, June 25, five days before his death.
Although Ged managed to marry Kay during his final days, he was unable to watch his daughter Gemma tie the knot despite moving her own wedding forward to August.
In a touching message on Facebook, Gemma thanked the hundreds of people who attender her father’s funeral who made “such a hard day so special”.
She said: “I was dreading having to say goodbye to my precious dad but was absolutely overwhelmed and proud to see how much he was loved by so many people.
“I am so proud to be Lord Gerard’s daughter and I know my children are so proud to be his grandchildren and his legacy will live on through them.
“Goodnight dad, sleep tight. I love you all the way to the moon and back again and know you will always be with me by my side.”
Hundreds of heartfelt tributes have been left to Ged with family and friends posting their fondest memories and well wishes to the “Lord of the Bingley Arms”.
Ryan said that the “overwhelming” messages of love and support has helped his family ease the pain, knowing he was “loved and adored by so many.”
He said: “His life my have been taken way too soon and well before his time due to that horrible disease but who can argue with the life he lived, he most certainly lived it ‘his way’.
“He fought bravely to the very end and achieved just about every goal we set him. You will always be with us by our sides, in our hearts and in our thoughts and I am so proud to forever call myself your son.”