Surfing fan and star student dies aged 25

Yianni Hadjigeorgiou
Yianni Hadjigeorgiou
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MUCH-LOVED Yianni Hadjigeorgiou had the world at his feet – preparing to become a trainee solicitor and planning his next wind-surfing holiday.

The family of the 25-year-old, from Leyland, described him as a “star student”, as well as a talented sportsman and a “constant inspiration”.

But, at 5am on Sunday, his mum Diane Oakden was given the devastating news by police that Yianni had passed away suddenly.

“I was asleep when I heard the knock on the door, and then your life changes forever”, said his heartbroken mum.

Diane, 52, said: “I kind of thought somebody had stolen my car.

“Then he said, ‘Are you Yianni Hadjigeorgiou’s mum?’ and I said, ‘What’s wrong’.

“He said ‘There’s no easy way to tell you – he’s passed away.’

“Then I just screamed. I felt like I had completely lost control.

“I’m just hoping it’s a nightmare and I’m going to wake up, but it isn’t.”

It is not yet known how Yianni died, but he was found in his bed in Sheffield, where he had been studying.

The talented footballer had completed a law degree at Sheffield University, and was about to finish his Legal Practice Course (LPC).

He was then due to begin a training contract with global law firm DLA Piper, and was planning to spend six months in Dubai during his traineeship.

His family said he had been on every sports team during his time at Worden High School, and had been captain of Ribble Wanderers.

He had also been a lifeguard at Leyland Leisure Centre, and had a love of travelling.

Diane, a fitness instructor, said: “He was just a good person and a good son, and I’m very proud of him. He was a very peaceful person.

“We are going to have a memorial award at Worden in his name.

“And there’s going to be a new award at his law school.

“He was nominated for the Chancellor’s Award at Sheffield University before he died.”

Diane was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and said she was also hoping to set up a charity or fund-raiser in Yianni’s name, to raise cash for young people with MS.

Yianni, who was half Greek, was one of five siblings and his brother Mano, 27, said: “He was a really devoted family guy.

“He especially loved Eleni (his sister, nine), he was such a good big brother, he would have done anything for the family.

“Wind surfing was his love.”

Following a cremation, half of Yianni’s ashes are going to be scattered in Greece, and Mano is going to wind-surf them out to sea.

Mano said: “We were talking about going to Greece in the summer, he was planning to Skype my dad on Sunday, he was going to celebrate Leicester winning the Premier League - he always liked the underdog.

“It’s just a very confusing time. His friends say he was a constant inspiration.

“He was my little baby brother. He had great love and compassion, and he was so driven.

“He was just a nice guy.”

Funeral details are yet to be finalised, but it has been provisionally arranged for Wednesday, May 11.