A talented footballer who learned his trade in Brighouse and made friends around the world has lost his nine month battle with cancer.
Ross Smith, 27, a former pupil of both Lightcliffe Preparatory School and Bradford Grammar School, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in May 2013.
Tributes have been paid by family and friends, reaching across to the USA, where he had forged a career as a sports consultant, after spending three and a half years studying at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.
Mum Jayne said: “Ross would light up a room when he walked in and he loved his dream job. He had a lovely smile and was hugely popular with people from all walks of life.
“He was a massive fan of all sports, but football was his passion. Ross would have a go at anything and packed a lot into in to his 27 years.”
Having played for Clifton Rangers and Brighouse Junior football teams, winning numerous trophies, he signed for Huddersfield Town Academy and later Halifax Town youth academy before having spells at Bradford Park Avenue and Shelf United.
Ross worked in Leeds and Bradford as a banking adviser for HBOS between 2005 and 2009.
It was at Belmont Abbey College, Charlotte, NC where he earned a degree in Sports Management. Just after his return home at Christmas 2012 he found his perfect job at Future Pro USA, in which Ross would scout for British sporting talent and help organise their studies in the USA.
His brother Matthew explained his time in the USA: “Ross was a social magnet who united all the sport teams at the college. He loved life and had an infectious personality.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better brother. We have had so many messages of love and support paying tribute to him which is amazing.”
Ross was unable to attend his graduation ceremony, so Dr. Travis Feezell from the college flew to England and presented him with his degree.
Dr. Feezell said: “Ross was a beautiful person and he meant so much to so many people.
“As a senior in 2012, Smith proudly wore the captain’s armband. He played 73 times in total, scoring 10 goals and assisting on 11 others from 2009-2012.
“He was well-liked by all of his peers as he carried an easy smile, a friendly banter and never met a stranger.”
Ross had his kidney removed at Bradford Royal Infirmary and all his subsequent chemotherapy treatment was at The Young Adult Unit at St James’ Hospital, Leeds, before he passed away at his home in Shelf on January 29.
The funeral service and cremation will be held at Park Wood Crematorium, Elland, on Thursday February 13 at 2.15pm.
Flowers are welcome or donations in lieu to the Young Adult Unit at St James Hospital, Leeds.