A COMMUNITY has been left heartbroken after the sudden death of a much-loved father-of-three. 

Tom Bowness, 37, died last week after being taken ill at a rugby league event for youth teams.

The community has since rallied around his wife Cavel and three children Lilly, Oscar, and Amelia to raise more than £7,000 to support them.

Tom, of Cross Hills in Keighley, was described by his club Keighley Albion as "one of the nicest humans you could ever meet".

Speaking on behalf of the family, Danny Bowness also painted a similar picture of his cousin.

Danny said: "He was just a lovely, genuine, nice lad. He was full of life and hardworking.

"I can't speak highly enough of him."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Tom was a club stalwart at Keighley AlbionTom was a club stalwart at Keighley Albion (Image: UGC)Tom would often stay at Danny's mum's house when the pair were growing up.

They each shared a love for rugby league, Keighley Albion in particular, where Tom would eventually play an "integral" part as a player and then coach.

Tom coached the younger age groups including one his son, Oscar, played for.

"He loved coaching him and seeing him play," Danny said.

"He was a fantastic father. Both he and Cavel have been amazing parents."

Tom had attended the Leeds Rhinos Challenge event at Butlin's Skegness, where five Albion teams were scheduled to play.

On Friday, May 10, he retired to his room early after feeling ill.

"It was supposed to be an amazing weekend. He was so looking forward to it," an emotional Danny said.

"I spoke to people who went and they said Friday night he was sat with them and had bad earache and headache so he went to bed early.

"He left there and they never saw him again.

"It is such a tragedy. It is still not quite real."

Tom was rushed to hospital and induced into a coma following a bleed on the brain. He tragically passed away on Tuesday, May 14.

The Bowness family were keen to thank Keighley Albion, Leeds Rhinos, and Keighley Cougars for their support during this difficult time.

A post on the Keighley Albion Facebook page read: "It is with an extremely sad heart that we are writing this.

"Sadly, after being taken ill at the Butlins Rhinos Challenge last Friday, we have lost one of our own, Tom Bowness.

"Tom, an open-age player for many years and more recently the coach of our Under 8 and 9s, was a massive part of the club.

"He was truly one of the nicest humans you could ever meet - kind, funny and always there to help.

"He brought a massive enthusiasm to the club and to his team.

"He was loved by all and will be sadly missed by so many.

"Tom leaves behind his wife, three beautiful children, a loving family and many close friends - not only at the club but far and wide.

"We want all of them to know that we at Keighley Albion are here for them all always and we are here to support you in any way we can. 

"This has left a massive hole in our hearts. We love you, Tom. Rest easy brother until we meet again."

A statement on the Leeds Rhinos website read: "Leeds Rhinos and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation were deeply saddened to hear the recent passing of Keighley Albion junior coach Tom Bowness after he was taken ill at the recent Rhinos Challenge event and then passed away a number of days later in hospital. 

"Tom Bowness, who previously played open age rugby for Keighley Albion, was the club's Under 8s and 9s coach, a team he had coached from Keighley Albion's antz programme at 3 years old.

"Tom was the 'heart & soul' of the Keighley Albion club who lived for rugby league. He leaves behind a wife and three children.

"Keighley Albion have organised a fundraising page to support Tom's family.

"We would like to pass on our deepest sympathies to Tom's family and friends at this sad time on behalf of everyone connected the Rhinos and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation."

The fundraising page can be viewed by visiting www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/KeighleyAlbionTomB