UPDATE: University pays tribute to ‘respected’ coach who died in Kirkstall Road cycling crash

Hundreds of people attended a vigil for John 'Tats' Harkins who died in a crash on Kirkstall Road in Leeds.
Hundreds of people attended a vigil for John 'Tats' Harkins who died in a crash on Kirkstall Road in Leeds.

A Leeds university has paid tribute to one of its ‘most respected’ coaches who died in a crash on Kirkstall Road this week.

John Harkins, 33, died when his bike was involved in a collision with a silver Volkswagen Golf on Monday night.

Tributes have poured in for the well-loved cheerleading coach who ran classes at a gym in Lockwood Court and at Leeds Beckett University.

Sarah Humphreys, sport and fitness manager at Leeds Beckett University, said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of John and on behalf of our university I would like to express my sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

“John was one of our most respected and successful coaches at Leeds Beckett and had guided our cheerleading club to national success over the last few years.

“The impact he has had on our students cannot be underestimated and he will be hugely missed by all who knew him.”

Two men, aged 23 and 36 from Leeds who were inside the car, were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and bailed. The driver of the car remains in hospital in a stable condition.

Hundreds of people attended a vigil for Mr Harkins – otherwise known as Tats on account of his tattoos – at the Level Up Academy in south Leeds last night (Wednesday).

In a statement, his family said: “The devastating loss of John has left a void in all our lives. He was a gentle giant loving and caring of all he met. He excelled in everything he set his mind to, from education, to sport, to being the most fabulous son, brother and uncle a family could wish for.

“The outpouring of love and respect for him from his family, school friends, his cheerleading family and work colleagues from across the globe, has provided a ray of light and showed the true scale of his kind and caring nature. He has touched the lives of so many people and his families both home and away are devastated by the news.”

MP Rachel Reeves.

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