TRIBUTES to a hugely popular “gentle giant” who died while out cycling on July 9 have poured in from family, friends and colleagues.

Leroy Richardson, 54, from Pill, was on a bi-weekly 18 mile cycle ride to Magor with friends when he suffered a heart attack, dying almost immediately.

Ambulances attended the scene but were not able to help him.

He grew up in Somerton and worked as a doorman in Newport and Cardiff nightclubs before working with Bisley Office Furniture.

A warm and caring man, he donated more than 70 pints of blood during his lifetime and regularly raise money for charity, in particular for the RNIB and British Heart Foundation.

Tragically, Mr Richardson’s brother Caledon also died of a heart attack when he collapsed in 1984 after winning a game of rugby aged 26.

Daughter Leanne Richardson, 29, said that when growing up all his children were incredibly proud to be seen with their father at the school gates: “You couldn’t get any bigger, better, blacker, prouder. We’d think, ‘He’s mine!’ “He made friends with anybody. He was perfect.”

6ft 4ins tall Mr Richardson lived in Pill and was secretary of the local neighbourhood watch. He loved motorbikes and had taken pride in restoring a red MG car, which had belonged to his brother Caledon, which he later had to gave away.

As a surprise, his children had bought back the car, but he died before they had the chance to give it to him.

They now hope to drive it at his funeral.

Son Clayton Richardson said: “He cared about everybody.

My dad was the definition of a gentle giant.”

Mr Richardson’s mother Ivy Richardson, 73, of Somerton, said: “I can’t cry, because my spirit is lifted.

He touched so many people’s hearts.”

Son Caledon Richardson, named after his uncle, said: “He got things going. He was about bringing people together.”

Former wife, “closest friend” and mother of three of Leroy’s children, Christine Booth, said describing the loss was almost impossible: “He was one of life’s true gentlemen.

We knew that everybody loved him, we just didn’t know how many.”

He leaves his mother Ivy Richardson; sister Lavinia; four children, Clayton, Caledon, Leanne and Jamie; and eight grandchildren, along with family in the Caribbean and UK.

His funeral will be held in St John’s Church, Newport, at 1pm on July 26.

Tributes to a 'special guy'

TONY Brown, chief executive of Bisley where Mr Richardson worked for 19 years, said: “Instantly recognisable for his broad smile, Leroy’s gentle manner and warm personality made him a very special person to all of us at Bisley. He already has been and will be very much missed by his many friends in the factory. To me, he was a very special guy.”

Friend Ifty Hassan said: “Leroy will be sadly missed but also remembered as an amazing person.I have travelled many parts of the world, I am proud to say Leroy Richardson was someone I can call a friend.”

Over 600 people joined a Facebook page set up in Mr Richardson’s memory.