TRIBUTES have been paid this week to a sporting legend, who died suddenly at the weekend.
Tyrone Wildman, well-known bodybuilder and cricketer, passed away on Saturday, aged 59.
He worked as a fitness instructor at Falaise Fitness Centre in Cambridge Road for 16 years and became widely respected for his sporting achievements.
He was British bodybuilding champion in 1982 and before that was the Southern Powerlifting champion.
His partner of three years, Cheryl Dudley, of Hopgarden Close, said: “Tyrone was such an inspiration to everybody. His warmth and smile will be remembered by everyone who was touched by him.
“Tyrone had so much time for everybody and made sure every single member at Falaise was made welcome.
“He was an absolute gentleman and always saw the good and positive in people. The whole town is in mourning.”
Mr Wildman, originally from Kingston in Jamaica, competed in athletics and ran the Hastings Half-Marathon 12 times.
He played table tennis for Hollington Table Tennis Club, and played for Sidley Cricket Club for more than 30 years.
Mr Wildman also played Sussex Cricket Club for the over-50s and 60s, which reached the national finals.
Another friend, Trevor Ramsden, of Ashby Close, said: “After playing cricket with him for more than two decades there was never any cross words he had time for everyone young and old. That great smile was there even when he was bowling and got hit for six.
“He would smile and you still got the same smile when he bowled you out.
“Some of our up and coming players would do well to take a leaf out of this great man’s book whether it is for playing sport or life in general. Myself and my family were privileged to know him and play cricket along side this legend.”
Neil Stapley, Hollington Table Tennis Club secretary, said: “It’s incredibly sad and it just leaves you numb.
“Tyrone was one of the nicest, most genuine blokes you could ever wish to meet, and you would have to go a long way to find anybody who had a bad word to say about him.”
Steve Parker, area manager of Freedom Leisure, which owns Falaise Fitness Centre, said: “Everyone at Freedom Leisure is shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Tyrone Wildman.
“He was one of the longest standing members of the fitness team at Falaise and it was a privilege to have worked with him.
“Tyrone was incredibly popular with colleagues and customers at the centre and it was a pleasure to have known him. He will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”
Mr Wildman is survived by his children Jodie, 24, Lizzy, 17, 13-year-old Joshua, his partner Miss Dudley and her two children Evelyn-Grace and Ruby-May.
His funeral will be held on Tuesday, January 4 at Hastings Crematorium from 11.30am.