TRIBUTES continue to pour in for a 21-year-old rugby player from the district, described as an “extremely talented and fearless” sportsman and “amazing” son.

Alex Barusevicus, nicknamed ‘A man’ by his university friends, was a student at the University of Nottingham and much loved player at Keighley RUFC (KUFC). The club, who reported the tragic news last Friday, said he had taken his own life while away at university.

His mother Teresa Barusevicus said: “Alex I love you and missing so much, nothing I can say will describe how I feel. My heart is broken and I want my Alex back. The cat is missing you as well. Alex I don’t know what to do. So many questions. And no answers. You have been amazing son I couldn’t wish for anyone else and with grin on your face you could do anything you wanted. Love you so much.”

Katrina Barusevicus said: “Dear Alex, I love you so much and words can not describe how devastated and heart broken I am . You always lit up the house with your beautiful smile and made my day whenever I saw you. I wish you knew how heart broken I am and how much I miss you You always made everyone smile around you and nobody will ever forget that.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: At the final of the Aire Wharfe Plate, May 2019.

Jon Currie, captain at KUFC, told the Telegraph & Argus: “I was Alex’s captain the last time I played alongside him, and he was one of the smallest men on the park, but he tackled anything and never stopped running.

"I played back row with him, and many times he pulled me out of the mire. Good player, awesome person.”

Alex joined the club in 2019 with his friend Harvey. Club coach Mickey Feather said he was “extremely talented and fearless”.

Director Russ Gibson said he was “dependable” and “never let his teammates down”.

Mr Gibson added: “Although quiet around some of our larger characters he made up for it with his actions on the training field and gamer day. 

"He was dependable, a trait not always evident in younger players, never let his teammates down, and had so much promise and was developing into top rugby player, such a loss!

"It’s always sad to lose someone from the club as we are a close family, to lose a player of only 21 years of age is truly tragic. I want to pass on my condolences to his family.”

The club's chairman Graeme Sheffield said: "Keighley Rugby Union Football Club is a Family and Community Club built by families for families, often two and three generations deep. We are a club that tries to do the right thing, tries to look after our own and make everyone welcome.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Alex Barusevicus, third on the left. Photo by JT Sports Media

"Covid-19 has put paid to so many of the activities we have previously taken for granted. No games, no socialising and not enough personal contact we are all used to.

"Our members have suffered and are continuing to suffer without their usual fix with teammates, friends and relatives.

"2020 has been a tough year for Keighley Rugby Club with an even tougher start to 2021. On Thursday we buried a Club Stalwart, and on Friday we heard of the loss of a young man Alex Barusevicus who had his whole life in front of him.

"The Club expects to lose Members who have had long and fruitful lives both in and out of rugby, but when we lose a young man like Alex, just starting out in life, it affects and hurts to the core of the whole establishment. At times like this, our club, members and particularly players are hurting.

"Young men are the lifeblood of Keighley Rugby Club, as a group, we must do more to help and protect them from whatever life throws their way.

"When adversity hits, the club must be strong; we stick together, we work tirelessly to make things better and strive as a group to continue to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone.

"The club and its members must come together, tighter, young and old and strive to learn from all adversity, be stronger for the most vulnerable and concentrate on the small things which will hopefully prevent such a sad loss in such tragic circumstances happening again.

"Just pick up the phone - It’s good to talk."