Tributes have been paid after the death of a pub landlord and Leigh Centurions’ club commentator.
Philip Todoric has been described as “a top bloke with a heart of gold” and “the best dad” to his six-year-old daughter Lola.
The 38-year-old was taken to hospital on December 5 after suffering a short illness, but died on Wednesday.
Affectionately known as Toddy, he had spent the past four years working as landlord of the Boars Head pub, on Market Place, Leigh.
He was also well-known for his involvement with Leigh Centurions, where he was the club commentator and the face of LCTV’s Centurion Cam.
His wife Claire Todoric, who lives in Leigh, said: “He was a joker, always had a smart comment to make to raise a laugh. He’d help anyone out, even if he was struggling himself he’d go out of his way to help someone else. I used to go mad at his generosity, but he saw no other way, it was second nature. He was the life and soul of any party and made sure everyone else was enjoying themselves too.
“We’ve been married for 10 years and was together about four to five years before that, so feel like we kind of grew up together. We got our first house together, our pets, marriage then a family. He was my best friend and the best dad to Lola. I was bad cop and he was good cop with her!
“His laugh was infectious, he loved karaoke! One year on holiday he got up and sang Sweet Caroline and the audience loved it. Someone actually asked me if he was famous! I just rolled my eyes! Everyone used to say he reminded them of Peter Kay and it would annoy him that they didn’t say Paddy McGuinness. He was just everyone’s mate.”
She added: “He’s loved in a way that can’t be put into words, and even though me and Lola are going to miss him terribly, he’s always going to be with us and we’ll take a lot of comfort from that.”
An online fund-raising appeal was set up by Andrew Lloyd, with thousands of pounds already donated in memory of “a true gentleman”.
Mr Lloyd wrote on the website: “We’re hopefully going to raise some money for his family at this extremely difficult time. Phil was one of the kindest loving and most generous people I’ve ever met.”
Tributes poured in from Leigh Centurions, who announced Mr Todoric’s death on their website.
Operations director Steve Openshaw said: “Phil, or Toddy as everyone affectionately knew him as, was simply a brilliant and loyal character. He was a lifelong supporter of the club and key member of the LCTV team.
“The players and staff knew him well, and we all convey our sadness. I am proud to have known Toddy for several years and counted him as a good friend, if I ever needed an honest ground level opinion I knew Toddy’s would always be genuine and reliable. He will be sadly missed by all and my thoughts are with his family.”
LCTV colleague Matty Atkin said: “Sadly, Phil was taken to hospital on the 5th of December due to illness and has remained there since. Phil was a bundle of joy when he had hold of the microphone or when he was in front of the camera, making people laugh with his puns and jokes whilst also accurately commentating on the games. He was a proper Leigh lad and was since he was born, attending near enough every home and away game. Joe (Wood), Ryan and me will all miss him at LCTV.”
Colleague Ryan Taylor said: “It was a real privilege to work alongside Phil for LCTV; I remember my first game working with him away at Warrington in the 8s, which was my first game leading the commentary and he made me feel so at ease and comfortable, which helped me gain confidence in what I was doing.
“I will also never forget the Challenge Cup game at Batley when Phil and I had to commentate in the freezing cold, and it was one of the funniest games to commentate on due to Phil. He was a top person and will be sorely missed on LCTV.”
Mr Atkin added: “It surely is a massive shock to us all, Phil knew near enough every Leyther in the LSV stadium as he was a popular person. At first there was no Centurion Cam, Phil offered to come and do some videos with myself with the addition of commentating, he never expected anything in return from myself or the club.
“He loved being in front of that camera and making people laugh. Before coming on board with LCTV, I know he liked to attend the match by either sponsoring it or being involved with the Premier Club. Phil loved the game of rugby league and playing his part at Leigh. He was a top bloke with a heart of gold and he will be missed by all.”
Donations in memory of Mr Todoric can be made here.