A FATHER-OF-ONE described as “the heart and soul” of his football team has died in a tragic car crash.

Devastated friends and colleagues of Lee Lyons, 27, have paid tribute to the man who was a “friend to everybody” and who, in 2009 was hailed a local hero when he helped rescue a woman from her burning home.

Mr Lyons, of Chatsworth Avenue, Strensall, was driving a blue BMW along Towthorpe Moor Lane, at 9.20pm on Sunday when the vehicle crashed into a ditch and rolled on to its roof. North Yorkshire Police said he was travelling towards Strensall from the A64 at the time and no other vehicles were involved.

The popular brother to Shaun, Wayne and Nikki was a driver for H Hall, in Brandsby, and had represented Strensall Football Club, a side in the York Minster Engineering Football League, for a decade.

Saturday’s game against Rawcliffe has been postponed as a mark of respect to the defender.

Tony Mason, the team’s manager, said: “Lee was a one-off.

“He was the heart and soul of my football team, the most talented footballer in the team and a friend to everybody.

“He’s been here ever since he could kick a ball. When we got the news, it was devastating. The whole of Strensall is devastated. I’ve lost a friend, a footballer and a gentleman.”


York Press:

 Lee Lyons, back row, fifth from the right, with his Strensall FC team-mates

The former Huntington School pupil grew up in Northfields in Strensall before moving to Chatsworth Avenue, also in the village.

In 2009, The Press reported how he helped rescue mum-of-four Lynne Flintoft, who was unconscious in the back bedroom of her burning home when Mr Lyons and three others dragged her downstairs after one of the men had forced his way inside with a sledgehammer.

They put out the fire, which was in the kitchen, by wetting laundry that was hanging in the room and throwing it on the flames.

Mr Lyons, a former York College student, trained as a joiner but had worked for H Hall for the past seven years.

Harry Hall, owner of the company, said: “He was a good lad, a good worker and always happy.

“He was in the prime of his life. Lee was an excellent worker and could turn his hand to anything.

“He is a joiner by trade but when the recession started he couldn’t get any work, so he asked his brother if he could fix him up. He came and worked for us and we got him all his certificates for driving all of our heavy plant vehicles.

“We give our deepest sympathies to his family and the whole team will miss him.”

North Yorkshire Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident to contact them.

Anyone who can help should phone North Yorkshire Police on 101 - select option 2 - and ask for Traffic Constable Ian McKenzie. or Tadcaster Roads Policing Group.

Alternatively, information can be emailed to ian.mckenzie@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk Quote reference number 12150051277.