Family pays tribute to Brynaman rugby player pulled from River Amman
THE FAMILY of a Brynaman rugby player who died on Valentine's Day have said he brought fun to their lives every day.
Michael Richards, of Lower Brynaman, was pulled from the River Amman at 8am last Thursday, at the Nant Gwyn Bridge, following a multi-service search.
Police said the 25-year-old was seen entering the River Amman at the bridge near Brynaman RFC at around 3.45am on February 14.
A full-scale search and rescue operation was launched involving Dyfed-Powys Police, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue, Brecon Mountain Rescue and the helicopter from RAF Chivenor.
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Releasing a statement via Dyfed-Powys Police, his family said: "Mike was the most special son and thoughtful brother, and a loving boyfriend to Rachel.
"He was a real character who brought fun and laughter into our lives every single day.
"We can't begin to explain how much we will all miss him and how big a gap he leaves behind."
They said Mr Richards was a keen sportsman, taking an interest in all kinds of sports.
"But his first love was rugby," added his family.
"He was a talented rugby player, who also loved supporting his national side and was looking forward to the outcome of this year's Six Nations."
They added that they were touched by the support of people around Brynaman.
"As a family we have been touched and comforted by the support of our local community, who turned out in large numbers last weekend at a special event in Mike's honour," they said.
"Our son was one of those people who was able to be friends with people all ages and from all walks of life.
"To everyone who came out for us last weekend and those who have comforted us, we'd like to say thank you."
Mr Richards had previously played for Cwmllynfell RFC, and also played for his home club, Brynaman RFC.
Last week, Lower Brynaman councillor Arwyn Woolcock called on the community to rally round to support the family and said that floral tributes and a rugby shirt were placed on the bridge where he was last seen.
The funeral of Mr Richards will be held at 11am on Saturday, February 23, at Ebenezer Chapel in Lower Brynaman, followed by a wake at the rugby club.