Twelve hours' work that will leave lasting legacy in stunning tribute to Leeds United legend Gary Speed

A GIANT mural for a giant of a personality and a giant of a talent.

By Lee Sobot
Sunday, 4th April 2021, 4:36 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th April 2021, 4:38 pm

That was the overriding message as the city of Leeds paid its latest tribute to a fallen great this weekend.

The fallen great lost in the most tragic circumstances of all for a club who always unite, be it in joy or adversity.

Leeds United will always remember and never forget.

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STUNNING: The giant Gary Speed mural in Bramley by artist Claire Bentley-Smith - who is also known as Poshfruit. Picture by Steve Riding.

Never forget people like Whites fans Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight who went to support their team in Istanbul 21 years ago this weekend and never came back.

Never forget playing legends like Peter Lorimer, still only two weeks on from his passing away.

Leeds United paid their respects to Loftus, Speight and Lorimer in poignant fashion before Saturday's Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United with a minute's applause and by wearing black armbands.

And never forget Gary Speed, a player whose life ended in tragic circumstances a decade ago this November but now a player who will fittingly always be looking out on the city of Leeds through an impressive giant mural in Bramley.

TRIBUTE: From left. Andy Greenway, of Andy's Man Club, Ross Horsman of Showoff Design and Display, Graham Hyde, vice chair of Leeds United Supporters Trust, Bryn Law and Tony Dorigo. Picture by Steve Riding.

The artwork of Speed is the latest tribute from the Leeds United Supporters Trust in an ongoing series across the city supported by a popular crowdfunding initiative.

Whites fan Ross Horsman owner of Showoff Design and Display in Bramley, heard about the Trust's search for buildings on which such artwork could be adorned and jumped at the chance to have his Whites idol painted on the side of the building in which he worked.

Horsman loved Speed. He even did his hair like him.

In talented Yorkshire-based artist Claire Bentley-Smith who is also known as Poshfruit, Horsman also had the perfect friend to carry out the stunning artwork but one for whom painting the Speed portrait was particularly poignant.

Bentley-Smith lost her dad to suicide when she was just 20 years old and her stunning mural was put together in partnership with charity Andy's Man Club - a group aimed at getting men to open up about their mental health problems.

Andy's Man Club was founded in Halifax five years ago after Andy Roberts took his own life without warning at just 23 years of age.

The charity is now going from strength to strength and Andy's Man Club's Andy Greenway is proud of its progress though only wishes the charity could have been around even earlier.

Around when Speed tragically died aged just 42 in November 2011.

Given the tragic passing of her own father, artist Bentley-Smith was particularly keen to work on the mural of Speed, something she managed to put together in just 12 hours.

Thanks to her stunning work, those hours will now last a lifetime as Speed looks over the city in which he used to star and helped make champions of England.

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Thank you Laura Collins