The Machynlleth community said goodbye to a well-known sportsman, who “lived his life to the max”, last week.

Mark Gaskell, 47, sadly died from cancer on 4 August. A funeral was held for Mark at St Peter’s Church, in Machynlleth, on 17 August.

Mark’s father, Richie, said he was “touched” by the community support and the service: “We were so amazed and proud that so many turned out for the funeral, it was unreal. The fire service were down by the town clock, and the service itself was really brilliant – we couldn’t have asked for a better service.

“Rev Canon Kathleen Rodgers came out of retirement just to hold the service.

“It looked like the whole town was there; it was just an unbelievable send off. The support the town has given myself, my wife, my daughter, Mark’s girlfriend and his daughter has been amazing.

“He did live a good life, we are so proud of the way he lived his life. Everybody knew him.

“He’ll be sadly missed by his mum and dad, his daughter, Sara, his girlfriend, Katy, his sister, Wendy, as well as his nephew and niece, Flynn and Matilda.”

Mark’s girlfriend, Katy Latham, added: “I want to thank everybody for their support, and all the kind wishes and sympathises we have received. It’s been truly overwhelming.

“Mark was involved in so many things, he gave a lot to Machynlleth and it really showed by the turn out to the funeral.

“He definitely lived his life to the max.”

Born and bred in Machynlleth, Mark was an avid sportsman in the town, as well as working as a manager for Transport for Wales and serving as retained firefighter.

President of the local bowls club, Michael Williams said: “Mark was a fantastic young man. He was very much respected by the community and by all the sports clubs that he played for.

“The really well attended service at the church reflect the high regard and esteem Mark, and indeed his family, are held in by the people of Machynleth and the wider community.”

Machynlleth Rugby Club chairman Rhys Morris said: “Mark started playing for Machynlleth around 30 years ago as a youth player, and even then his dry sense of humour made him a popular player both on and off the pitch. He didn’t play long before he headed off to join the Royal Navy.

“On his return he became a valued member of the rugby team, playing for us when we first started playing in the North Wales leagues against the likes of Bala and Nant Conwy. In 2000 he was made captain and he held that position for a couple of years during which Mach performed really well, turning Cae Glas into a bit of a fortress.

“He was a great player and a master of the dark arts of the front row, but it was off the field where he really came into his own, he had a very sarcastic sense of humour and was always ready with a comment or a joke which would have everyone laughing.

“Mark loved the special events that we sometimes had such as rugby tours and Boxing Day events, and there was one year where he had spent a couple of hours setting up a member of team who ended up being made to dress up in a costume, only to then be handcuffed to him for a couple of hours which he found hilarious!

“When he moved on to play for both Newtown and Aberystwyth he still kept close links with Machynlleth and would often drop into the club after games and join us on rugby tours, and when he was getting towards the end of his career, he took over the reins as coach to help develop the young players we had coming through the ranks.

“Mark will always be remembered as a great player and the life and soul of the party, but more than anything he was a great friend to so many players and supporters of the club over the years, and the fond memories will live with us forever.”