Tributes have been paid to a father-of-six who died in an alleged hit and run.
Gareth Roper, 35, was pronounced dead at the scene, after he was found lying on Lily Lane, in the Bamfurlong area of Wigan at around 4.30am on New Year’s Day.
The Spring View rugby player leaves behind his children who are aged between 10 months and 12-years-old.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help raise money to go towards funeral costs. Currently the total has reached over £7,000 in donations.
The creator of the page wrote: “My cousin, Rachel, sadly lost her husband Gaz to tragic circumstances. Gaz lost his life as a result of a hit and run on new years day. Gaz lived for his family and worked tirelessly to provide for them.
“I have created this page to help raise funds towards his funeral costs as this isn't something you prepare for at 35-years-old.”
On Facebook, people have been paying tribute to Gareth.
One person wrote: “As a family the bottom has fallen out of our world, Gaz was a real family man, everything he did was for his wife and children.
“I know that no amount of money could ever fix the heartache Rachel and the kids are feeling right now, but it can at least lighten the stress load of worrying about funeral costs.
“Gaz rest in peace, fly high and watch over your wife and children. You will live on through them kids, I know it, and you will never ever be forgotten.
“I promise to always be by Rachel’s side every step of the way. And I promise I will help raise your children to carry on being the beautiful and amazing children that you and Rachel brought them up to be.”
‘He will be forever with our team’
Furthermore, a charity rugby match has been organised for 8 January, involving his club.
The event was initially a memorial day for Billy Livesley, who was murdered in 2019, but will now be shared to remember Gareth as well.
On Spring View A.R.L.F.C’s social media, people have also been remembering him.
One person wrote: “I had the great pleasure on many occasions to referee Gaz. Such a nice guy on and off the field.”
Another added: “Such horrible news. Great player and an even better bloke. Thoughts go out to his family.”
With a third stating: “One of the nicest guys you will meet, he will be forever with our team.”
Greater ManchesterPolice launched a probe after Gareth’s death and appealed for witnesses.
A spokesman for the force previously said that due to “previous contact” with the man, the Independent Office for Police Conduct has been made aware.
The force said it had also referred the incident to its professional standards branch.
Anyone with information should contact Greater Manchester Police on 0161 856 4741 quoting 1271 1/1/22. Alternatively, the independent charity - Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
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