THE FUNERAL of Sam Yarwood, the former Camp Hill rugby star, saw around 500 people turn out to pay their last respects.
The 22-year-old, originally from Hollywood, died in a canoeing accident on Lake Ullswater in the Lake District on Wednesday, April 6.
Mourners from as far as Bournemouth where the former Sixth Form College student played for Bournemouth RFC, gathered at Immanuel Church, Highters Heath Lane, Hollywood, on Tuesday (April 19).
Led by Rev Eve Pitts, the congregation included Sam’s parents, John and Vivienne, two brothers and two sisters and his partner Rachel.
Rev Pitts said: “I stand before you today as a priest, a woman and a human being who loved Sam. I know how much Sam loved his family, he lived his life to the full. He was such a popular person and touched so many lives wherever he went.”
As a player for Bournemouth RFC he was a record try-scorer and at yesterday’s service a message to Sam’s family from England rugby coach Martin Johnson was read out.
The England boss said: “To lose someone from the rugby fraternity is always tough, but to lose someone as young as Sam is incredibly hard to bear.
“Though I didn’t know him personally I know he was having a great season with Bournemouth. By all accounts Sam was on the threshold of a fantastic playing career.”
Sam studied at Cardiff University Institute before moving to play for Bournemouth . He also worked for for LA Fitness in Poole, Dorset.
Sister Rachel Smith from Shirley told the Solihull News: “Sam was such a character, everyone who knew him absolutely loved him.”
Tuesday’s service was followed by a cremation at Robin Hood Crematorium in Shirley and a reception and tribute at Moseley Rugby Club.