A CLOSE friend of a "one of a kind" young dad from Leigh who died suddenly has paid tribute to him.

Liam Ratcliffe was 29 when he died earlier this month.

He leaves behind three children, with the youngest being only seven months old.

One of his close friends, Shaun Myers, 27, from Leigh, spoke to the Bolton News about Liam.

He said: “He was such a generous, caring guy.

"I know people always say it when people die but he’d do anything for anybody, he’d have given his shoes to a man on the street who’s got nothing.

“I cried a lot for about a week after it happened. He was one of a kind.”

Shaun, who met Liam through mutual friends, added: “We were both in the same friendship group and played rugby league together.

“I also got him a job at BT years ago, so we worked together for three years.”

After his death, Shaun set up a GoFundMe for Liam’s funeral, which has so far raised more than £9,000.

He said: “We set up the page to raise money for his funeral. Liam’s mum, who is organising the funeral, priced it all up and there’s enough there.

“We’re going to use the rest to set up a trust fund for his daughters, so if anyone would like to donate, we’d be grateful.”

Shaun thinks the funeral will be very busy.

He said: “It will be rammed.

"Liam was one of the most popular people around town.”

Liam was a keen rugby league player, having played for Leigh Miners Rangers and most recently for Leigh East.

On Twitter, a Leigh Miners Rangers spokesman said: “Leigh Miners Rangers are saddened to hear of the very untimely passing of former junior and openage player Liam Ratcliffe, Liam a prop forward and a popular lad at the club had more recently been playing his rugby across the canal at Leigh East.

“The club would like to pass on their condolences to all of Liam’s family and friends at this very sad time."

Leigh East also tweeted: “All at Leigh East are devastated to hear about the passing of popular first team player Liam Ratcliffe.

“During this sad time, all our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

The link for Liam’s GoFundMe page is https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-to-fund-liam-ratcliffe-memorial.