A MUCH-LOVED South Elmsall man who coached table tennis to hundreds of youngsters has died.
John Wilkinson, of Exchange Street, passed away on October 11, aged 61, due to heart failure.
Mr Wilkinson coached children in South Elmsall and Hemsworth for 25 years, and encouraged many of them to go on and become coaches as well.
The dad-of-one also coached Chris Senior to become the number seven cadet in England, and Stevie Rusting who played against players from all over the country.
Mr Wilkinson started playing the sport for St Mary’s table tennis club when he was 33. He was qualified as a level three coach and county umpire.
He was also asked to help at the 2012 Olympics but had to decline the offer due to health reasons.
Mr Wilkinson worked as a deputy plant manager at Frickley Colliery before retiring.
He leaves behind wife Sandra, son Glen and grandson Thomas – who he also coached and went on to win many trophies.
Mrs Wilkinson said: “He was so dedicated to helping the kids in the area.
“I have had many of them who are now grown up coming to me in floods of tears. It just shows what an impact he had on their lives.
“He was a wonderful man and will be greatly missed.”