Footballer Wayne was one in a million

FRIENDS and colleagues today paid touching tributes to “one in a million” Wayne Barker.

FRIENDS and colleagues today paid touching tributes to “one in a million” Wayne Barker.

The 35-year-old, from Rendham, near Saxmundham, died after he collapsed playing football on Saturday.

The Saxmundham Sports Reserves player was playing against Ufford Sports at the Ufford recreation ground when he suffered a suspected heart attack.

The father-of-two was described as a hero to his children, 11-year-old Jake and seven-year-old Liberty.

Kim Piper, the mother of his children, who was married to Wayne for nine years, said: “He was one in a million and his kids idolised him. They are being really brave.

“The hardest thing in the world was telling them their hero had died. I will do everything in my power to help them remember him.

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“He was planning a life with his new girlfriend Pauline, he was so happy with her and I was so happy for them. He really was fantastic - I always loved him and I always will.”

Speaking on behalf of Saxmundham Sports FC, Carl Page, who was playing with Wayne on Saturday, said: “Wayne was a fantastic player to have in the dressing room, always cracking jokes and his infectious laugh will long be remembered.

“Our thoughts, of course, are with his family at this very difficult time and we hope they can take strength in the knowledge of how well he was loved and respected by those that knew him.”

Pat Betts, chairman of Hatcher Components, Wayne's employers, added: “He was a lovely man, a good friend and colleague who will certainly be missed here.”

Pay your tributes to Wayne - write to Newsdesk, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, e-mail or visit