Community unites to say final goodbye to Mick

Hundreds gathered for the wake of Mick Riley at Ossett Town Hall. They have raised money for Diabetes UK by selling T shirts with a picture of Mick , who died from a diabetes related illness. Picture Scott Merrylees
Hundreds gathered for the wake of Mick Riley at Ossett Town Hall. They have raised money for Diabetes UK by selling T shirts with a picture of Mick , who died from a diabetes related illness. Picture Scott Merrylees

Hundreds of people turned out to honour the life of Ossett man Michael Steve Riley, after he died at the age of 40 earlier this month.

Close friend Stephanie Jennings said ‘Mick’, was always “out and about” in the town and was well known in the community.

Maxine Jennings, Stacey Smith and Steph Jennings.

Maxine Jennings, Stacey Smith and Steph Jennings.

She said: “He was the life and soul of the party. He was just so friendly to everyone.”

Mick was born with a range of health issues and spent much of his childhood undergoing major operations in hospital. He later developed diabetes.

Miss Jennings said: “With all that he has been through with illness, he has never once complained.

“He always helped everybody with anything.

“I have never known anyone quite like him. He was always witty, sarcastic and joking but never at anybody’s expense.”

A funeral for Mick, who worked in the steel and construction industries, was held at Kettlethorpe Crematorium on Wednesday.

And around 300 people, each wearing T-shirts with a picture of his beaming face on, gathered in the town afterwards to celebrate his life.

Miss Jennings said she ”couldn’t believe” how many people turned up.

She said: “People who have only met him a few times had all got funny stories about what he had done.”

Friends including organiser Gavin Gledhill sold the T-shirts to raise money for Diabetes UK.

And dozens of local businesses supported Mick’s funeral and joined in the fundraising initiative.

The Tawny Owl and Cock and Bottle pubs and Ossett Working Men’s Club played a central part in the celebrations providing food and refreshments for those who attended as well as holding collections to help the charity.

And companies in the town donated prizes for an upcoming raffle in his memory.

Miss Jennings said: “It was a brilliant day. It was fantastic to say it was a funeral.

“There was about 300 people there, maybe more.

“It was just a great way to celebrate Mick’s life. “