The funeral has taken place of a Bedford-born man described as “everyone’s best friend” and who died suddenly, aged just 27.
Around 300 members of his family, sporting and social friends and work colleagues attended the service for Paul Hawkins at Bedford Crematorium on Monday, ten days after the former football and rugby player with a love of golf was found dead at his flat.
A post mortem revealed he had died of heart failure.
His father David, a former captain and ex-president of Leighton Buzzard Golf Club and who is shortly to become President of the Bedfordshire Golf Association, led the tributes to Paul at a service conducted by Vanessa Corbishley.
Well known in the Bedford, Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard areas for his “love of life,” Paul had travelled around the Far East before becoming a graduate trainee with Tesco seven years ago. Until his death, he was store manager of the Tesco outlet on the Edgeware Road, London.
His mother Teresa, sister Kara and brother Chris, together with step-mother Tina and grandfather Brian were joined by other family members, friends and colleagues at a reception at Leighton Buzzard Golf Club where he played for many years, teaming up with David, Chris and Brian to make the “best family fourball you could possibly have”.
He was also an avid supporter of Liverpool football club, who have sent a letter of condolence to the Hawkins family.
Paul, a 12-handicap golfer, also played regularly with the Linslade-based Southcott Village Golf Society who have arranged a charity golf match at the Leighton club on March 24 to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation and other worthy causes he supported.
Paul was educated in Bedford, initially at Goldington Pimary School and then at Mark Rutherford School where he was a popular student, excelling at football and cricket.
After taking his A-levels, he left to start work with the Wickes group of builders merchants in Bedford, later joining Tesco.