A popular shinty player who died when he was hit by a train driven by his ex-partner has been described as “a very proud Dad” who “will be sadly missed by all”.
More than 400 people packed into the Duncansburgh MacIntosh Parish Church in Fort William yesterday to say farewell to 36-year-old Gary Wells.
The former Fort William and Scotland Under 21 goalkeeper was struck by a train near Ben Nevis Distillery at Inverlochy just before 8am on Tuesday August 19.
His former partner, Diane MacDonald, who was the first female train driver on the West Highland Line, was driving the ScotRail train between Mallaig and Glasgow at the time.
It is understood that the couple had separated about three weeks before his death.
The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. Morag Muirhead said the family had asked her to thank all those present for their “kind thoughts and support in these difficult days”.
She added that the size of the congregation showed that Mr Wells had “touched the lives” of so many people.
During prayers, Ms Muirhead said it was impossible to “fathom the depth of his despair and anguish” and she encouraged those present to support each other.
She also read a tribute written by his family giving a brief history of the 36-year-old’s life.
It stated that Mr Wells was brought up in Inverlochy and started playing shinty while he was in primary school.
Ms Muirhead read: “He played for Inverlochy Primary School, Lochaber High School Under 14s, then Under 17s, Fort William Under 17s and then the senior team.
“He was also picked for Scotland Under 21s, winning many trophies along the way and being made man of the match at his Scottish debut.”
As a teenager, he also joined the air cadets, where he became known as a bit of a prankster.
And, on leaving school, he trained as a welder then worked alongside his brother in Mallaig.
The family pointed out that Mr Wells was also “renowned as a bouncer in many of the High Street pubs”.
The tribute stated: “His biggest achievements in his short life were his three sons, Robert, Lewis and Jack.
“He was a very proud Dad and will be sadly missed by all.”
On leaving the church, mourners were invited to make a donation to the 1730 Lochaber Air Cadets Squadron in Mr Wells’ memory.
The Fort William v Lochcarron North Division 2 match that should have been played at Lochcarron on Saturday August 23 was postponed as a mark of respect for the popular goalkeeper.