Tributes paid to ‘best friend’

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Heartfelt tributes have flooded in from the family and many friends of a well-loved man who died last week.

Tony Murtagh, 46, was a skilled sportsman, local business owner and father, who lived with his wife Joyce, 48 and daughter Jodi, 16, at his childhood home in Cornfield Crescent, Bridlington.

He died on Tuesday 19 November, a short time after he was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

In a joint tribute to Tony, Jodi and Joyce said: “Tony was the best husband and father we could ever have wished for, he was my soulmate, my best friend and to Tony his family meant the world. Jodi was the apple of his eye, his princess and he her king.

“There is a massive void in our lives now and he is greatly missed by us and many, many more. His memory will live on in our hearts forever.”

Growing up in Bridlington, Tony was a keen BMX rider and a member of Bridlington Barracudas BMX Club, a hobby he shared with his sister Tracy Neesom, 36, of West Hill.

Tracy said: “He was a dare devil. He was really good and won over 20 trophies for BMXing. Everything he did he put 200% into.

“His motto was: ‘Winners never quit; quitters never win and no-one ever remembers who came second.’ He always used to help people if he could. My brother, my hero, my superman.”

Tony’s sister Michelle Neesom, 37, of Borough Road said: “He was like a dad to us. He would do anything for anyone. He always loved his nephews and nieces.”

His other sister is 38-year-old Vicky Morley and his brother, Karl Spencer, 40 of Horsforth Avenue, said: “I’m going to miss my best pal. He is a lovely person, I have lost my best mate. He helped me out a lot as a big brother.”

Tony, who set up his business Direct Roofing, was a black belt in Karate and had been invited to train with the England team. He was also an award-winning body builder and when he was younger founded a break dancing crew. He was also involved in S@r, a recycling company.

Shell Ashby, 31, of Quay Road, saw Tony as a father figure, and said: “I have had the pleasure of knowing Tony and Tony’s family for 14-years. He is one of the strongest, bravest, kindest men I know.”

Jason Wheeldon, 46, from Leeds, met Tony at school in Bridlington, and said: “To me he was just an inspiration. He was my longest and oldest friend. He had many friends but to me he was my best friend.

“I have got memories that are lodged in my heart. I’m going to miss him and I think about him every day.”

Steve Martin, 43, who struck up a lasting friendship with Tony 33-years-ago, said: “It won’t be long before we are walking Goldie in Blue Bell Woods again. Going to miss you, from Bacca.”

Dave Parker, 46, of The Crayke, knew Tony from their days working as doormen at Makis in Bridlington. He said: “He is just the best pal. I have never had an argument with him in my life. We spent many happy hours laughing at Bacca’s expense.”

Julian Barber said: “He was the type of guy if you needed anything he was always there for you. He was like a big brother to me when I was younger I used to look up to him.”

Tony was also goal-keeper for the Mermaid United Old Boys team and at last Saturday’s matches a minute’s silence was held.

Peter Stockdale, Mermaid’s manager said Tony was a “good guy who had his heart in the club” and team mate and friend Steve Grimson, 45, added “He earned respect from whoever was around him”.

The funeral for Tony will be held at East Riding Crematorium in Octon tomorrow, Friday 29 November at 2pm.

A memorial football match is to be held for Tony on Sunday 29 December at Filey Sports Club at 12pm. Contact Tracy Neesom for further information on 07450 018699.