Tributes have been paid to Charley Purkiss-McEndoo following his death at the age of 27.
The Harrogate RUFC prop forward tragically passed away on Saturday as a result of serious injuries sustained working as a tree surgeon.
“Charley was a wonderful, humble person. There are no words to describe this tragedy,” said Dave Doherty, ‘Gate’s director of rugby.
“He will be missed terribly by all. He was the heart and soul of our team and you just cannot replace characters like him.
“Charley was honest, courageous and passionate both on and off the pitch. He stood for all of the values we have as a club and was fundamental to so much of what we did out on the field of play.
“He brought out the best in everyone around him, especially at game-time.
“Charley was a massive part of our club and I know that we were a massive part of his life. He was incredibly passionate about his rugby.
“To see him cut down in his prime with so much of his life ahead of him is terribly sad, but he was so well thought of and had so many friends that I know he will always be remembered.”
Mr Purkiss-McEndoo, who lived in Richmond, joined Harrogate RUFC from Darlington Mowden Park in 2016.
Having developed into one of the star performers for ‘Gate in the Northern Premier Division, he returned to Darlington at the start of the 2018/19 campaign to try his hand in National One, the third tier of English rugby.
He finished the season back in a Harrogate shirt, however, initially heading back to Rudding Lane on loan, and his return coincided with a run of 10 consecutive victories for Doherty’s men.
Known to many by his initials ‘CPM’ or as ‘Cannonball’ on the rugby pitch, Mr Purkiss-McEndoo’s death has “sent shockwaves” through his friendship group, according to Jake Brady – his captain and team-mate at both ‘Gate and Darlington.
“We had heard that Charley had an accident and was in hospital, but when it’s lads our age you always just think that they’ll bounce back and be okay,” Brady said.
“Obviously I knew he was quite poorly, though nobody expected this. When the news arrived that he had died it was really, really shocking.
“There’s disbelief and sadness being felt across two clubs because CPM was loved everywhere he went.
“His death has sent shockwaves. I know a lot of the boys at Harrogate are really cut up because he was such a pillar of that team.
“He was just a nice kid, an all-round top bloke and the type of person who you wanted in your side.”