Funeral fund-raiser for Preston's Gareth Roberts

Ben Cooper-Abbs, Brian Coulton and Gareth Roberts
Ben Cooper-Abbs, Brian Coulton and Gareth Roberts

A rallying call has been issued by friends of a “larger than life” Preston man whose sudden death triggered a murder probe.

Pals of Gareth Roberts have launched a fund-raising page to help his family pay funeral costs.

Organiser Ben Cooper-Abbs said: “I’ve been friends with Gareth for the best part of 20 years, his death will forever leave a hole in our hearts.

“We just want to help his family. With him having died at such a young age he had made no will or plans to cover funeral expenses.”

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Details of when a memorial service will be held are yet to be decided although Ben and fellow fund-raisers are well on their way to their target of £2,000.

Any funds received on top of this figure will be donated to a charity of the family’s choosing, Ben added.

Plans are in place for mourners to remember 36-year-old Gareth - who worked at the Sherwood pub - by wearing Liverpool FC scarves as he was a big fan of the Reds.

Ben added: “He was a great friend with a larger than life character. We were just normal blokes who liked going out and having a laugh. He had a wonderfully sarcastic side to him.

“Myself and our friend Brian Coulton visited Gareth when he was based in Bratislava. He also loved the Lake District.

“Gareth will always be remembered as a loving brother, uncle and a great friend to many, no one will ever forget that smile.”

A murder investigation was launched earlier this month when Mr Roberts was found to have died from serious head injuries at an address on Levensgarth Avenue in Fulwood.

Two people arrested on suspicion of murder have been released on bail pending further enquiries.

To donate to the funeral fund visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ben-cooper-abbs