FRIENDS of Newton Abbot man Rob Breslan have raised almost £4,000 in his memory after the 35-year-old died while playing football on Saturday.
He left the pitch and shortly afterwards collapsed in the dug out having suffered a cardiac arrest.
Fellow players and those from a neighbouring cricket club went to his aid and paramedics were called.
Mr Breslan, a worker at The Junction Youth Centre, Newton Abbot, since 2008, was taken by air ambulance to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Wonford, but never recovered.
Tributes began pouring in on social media almost immediately, many people expressing support for Mr Breslan’s partner of 20 years, Amanda Inseon, his five sons and niece who he had cared for since his sister’s death aged 40 in 2013.
One of those who left a message was Rob Hodson?. He wrote: ‘I am honoured of being able to call you a friend, your passion for your family was there for all to see.
‘All our hearts go out to Amanda, your boys and Alice. I am just pleased how well (we) got to know you and your family over the last 12 months helping you run Ipplepen u10s.
‘It has been a blast filled with many laughs, success and all the boys bonding lifelong friendships, and the odd pint, You will always be in our hearts. We will always just be a call away for your family.’
The fundraising was started by James Nash, whose £3,000 target to help cover the cost of a funeral and memorial bench was surpassed in less than a day. Mr Nash wrote: ‘He touched the lives of so many people supporting children of all ages at the junction and played football for many years, a lot with Ipplepen Football Club.
‘Rob was loved by so many and leaves behind his partner Amanda and their children. We love and miss you mate xxxxx.’
Colleagues at The Junction said they had been in contact with Mr Breslan’s family to offer their condolences but did not wish to comment in public.
A charity football match is being planned by Ipplepen Athletic for August 30.