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Tributes to much-loved sportsman John Mansell

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 26, 2013

  • popular: John Mansell, from Gloucester, was a keen angler, right.

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HE was a sports-loving bear of a man, whose stature was only matched by his larger-than-life personality.

Tributes have been paid to Gloucester father-of-three John Mansell, from Podsmead and later Longlevens, who has died at the age of 79.

An accomplished all-round sportsman who tipped the scales at a hulking 19 stone, he played rugby, cricket, table tennis, football and skittles for teams across the area.

Loved ones say he made countless friends through his sporting exploits and was never shy of stopping to share a drink with teammates afterwards.

And even in later years, when poor health robbed him of his athletic prowess, he was not to be deterred – joining Gloucester Disabled Anglers' Club and heading on fishing trips until months before his death.

Dawn, his wife of 53 years, paid tribute to a big man with a big heart, who loved his sport, but for whom family always came first.

"We had many happy times as a family watching him play cricket," she said.

Born in Gloucester in 1933, John was the eldest of four siblings growing up near the Lannett, and attended Linden School.

After completing his national service, he trained as an electrician, working at Gloucester Aircraft Company among several city firms. Later in his career he launched his own business, John Mansell Electrician Contractors.

He married Dawn in 1959 and the couple had three daughters – Julie, Jo and Sarah.

He represented the Lannett at football, and played cricket for South Gloucester, Gloucester City and Winget Cricket Club as a hard-hitting opening bat. He was also captain of the Greyhound skittles team for many years.

Julie, a school teacher from Cheltenham, said: "He was a brilliant father and a true softie at heart. We will all miss him."

John died on January 18 after battling bravely against dementia and Parkinson's Disease in recent years.

His funeral will take place at Gloucester Crematorium on January 30 at 2pm. All who knew him are welcome to attend.

Any donations should go to CLIC Sargent – a cause particularly close to John's heart.

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