A HEARTBROKEN family has paid tribute to a "special young man" who "lived life to the full".

The death of Sam Wilson, 21, "ripped the heart out of his family" when he died after being hit by a passing taxi in Haxby Road following a violent incident in October.

His funeral, at St Mary's Church, in Haxby, was attended by hundreds of mourners and there was standing room only as the congregation laughed and cried together at stories of the builder's life.

The service was led by Reverend Katherine Jackson who read out tributes from his parents Jim and Tracey, two brothers James and Patrick and sister, Olivia.

Poems were read by his grandmother and songs by Faith Hill and Celine Dion were taken from Mr Wilson's iPod and played during the funeral.

Rev Jackson said: "Sam's death has ripped the heart out of his family and friends. He cared for others and he certainly didn't deserve to die, if anyone does.

"Sam was denied a bright future."

Rev Jackson added: "He loved his family, was cheeky, gregarious and loved the outdoors.

"He lived for the day, even for the moment, and would make the most of every opportunity.

"He always made us laugh and had a knack for caring for people.

"Sam would often turn up at home with a friend's child that needed looking after or a friend that needed a bed for the night. He was like the Pied Piper of Haxby."

The service heard Mr Wilson represented Haxby's football team for eight years and he longed to be a builder while growing up.

He became passionate about the trade during an eye-opening school trip to Kenya where he helped to build a school for the village.

Tributes from his siblings described him as a confidant, a best friend and someone they could turn to for advice.

A tribute from his older brother, James, read: "He made friends with anyone so easily as he was such a friendly and outgoing young man, and I was proud to call him my brother."

On the evening before his death, Mr Wilson attended a 60th birthday party with family at Haxby Sports Bar, where he worked part time.

He told his father he was planning his retirement party, but that was the last time his family saw him as he died in the early hours of the following morning, on October 11.

Three men have been charged with the manslaughter of Mr Wilson and a provisional trial date has been set for March 23 next year.

A reporter and photographer from The Press were invited to attend the funeral by the family.