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Friends set to remember York rugby coach Phillip Johnson
THE funeral of a popular rugby coach from York who died suddenly at the age of 42 will take place in Huntington next week.
All Saints’ Church is expected to be packed on Tuesday with friends and relatives of Phillip Johnson known to many as OJ, who died while on a holiday flight to Turkey last month.
Tributes from throughout the rugby world have been paid to Mr Johnson on social networking site Facebook, remembering his work with the New Earswick All Blacks and his role as coach with York Ladies Rugby League Club, which he steered to cup victory earlier this year.
One tribute from friend Will Leatt reads: “This so hard to comprehend, such a shock that has affected so many people.
“This is a big loss to the All Blacks and York Ladies but, more importantly, a loss of a friend to everyone that knew you.
“What’s so unfair is that you were such a great bloke that put a smile on everyone’s face. No doubt you’re up there making people laugh and they’re lucky to have you, but I wish we could have you back.”
Rachel Smith wrote: “Big man, big heart. Taken too soon. Will be missed by so many but remembered with a smile. Sleep peacefully.”
Sharon Allan-Pallister said there were a no words to describe the feeling of losing “one of the nicest, biggest, rudest, funniest people to come out of York”
“You will be missed by everyone who came into your company,” she said.
When news of Mr Johnson’s death on August 24 reached York, the All Blacks’ first and second teams postponed the kick-off of their opening Pennine League campaigns as a mark of respect.
The celebration of the life of Mr Johnson will take place at All Saints Church at 1pm on Tuesday, followed by interment at New Lane Cemetery.
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