Family and friends pay last respects to ‘legend’ Andy as memorial fund nears £11,000

An appeal to raise money for a permanent tribute memorial to a popular Paignton diver has smashed its £500 target, reaching almost £11,000.

The Just Giving fundraiser has been set up to remember Andy Pybus who died suddenly aged 59.

It will pay for a memorial floral display of a diver’s helmet and statue of Andy.

A socially distanced funeral was held in a marquee at Paignton Rugby Club where his family gave emotional tributes to the ‘incredibly devoted’ family man.

Mourners heard of his habit of telling terrible jokes and laughing so much he struggled to get to the punchline.

A ‘legend’ in the diving world, he had friends around the globe.

Described as the life and soul of the party, the congregation were told how he lit up any room.

At school, he was known as the class clown but was a talented sportsman.

He had trials for three professional football clubs, including Sheffield Wednesday and had the potential to play at professional level.

He trained as a hyperbaric welder and it was while on a diving course in Plymouth that he met wife Fi.

They went on to marry in 1984 at Central Church in Torquay.

Daughters Hannah and Lauren said his laugh and smile was infectious and that he would embarrass them in any way he could.

There was never a dull moment and having four daughters kept him on his toes, they said.

Messages from his grandchildren were also read out.

It was his dream to have a place in Spain which he achieved, giving his family the best holiday memories.

The well-known former Paignton rugby player died while working in the Gulf of Mexico off the American coast on June 20.

He has been described as the ‘most popular man in the diving industry and a legend’.

Andy made his rugby playing debut for the first team at Paignton in 1988.

He played a total of 153 firsts team games over 11 seasons scoring 141 points.

President and former team-mate Nick Bodnar paid tribute at the funeral on behalf of the rugby fraternity.

The fund-raising page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kevin-bell-644-andyp