Packed-out rugby ground bursts into applause for dead 20-year-old player

More than 1,000 friends of a popular rugby player burst into applause at a ceremony to mark his death.

Owen Bennett, 20, died suddenly on July 22.

And at Caerphilly rugby club friends and family wore jerseys for the club or Wales and filled the stands, reports Wales Online.

Paying testament to his love for music, and rugby, Owen's coffin adorned with red and white flowers was carried onto the pitch that had meant so much to him accompanied by Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here'.

Ignoring the rain, friends, family and fellow team members, laughed, cried and danced together during the celebration of life service before coming together to sing an emotional rendition of Bread of Heaven.

The service follows only weeks after thousands of mourners, including Owen's father Paul, took to the pitch to play a memorial match in the 20-year-old's honour.

But on Wednesday, mourners returning to the club were told to "open up" and talk to each other in the wake of the loss of a "fun, outgoing, social lad" who was "always on the go".

A former pupil at Ysgol Gymraeg Gilfach in Bargoed, those closest to the prominent player remembered a "popular, chatty, typical rugby" lad who loved to sing, joke and spend time with friends.

Sharing a laugh after stumbling on the sodden grass together, both Owen's sister Megan and mother Claire read a letter addressed to a "one in a million" figure.

Wearing a touch of red, Claire told her son: "'Hiya, butt, how are you doing?

"I can't believe you sent us rain…bet you will be laughing.

"I just want to let you know you will be missed so much. I wish you had spoken to me."

Born 9lbs 15oz, the mother-of-two joked that Owen's love of eating and talking as a baby was a trait that had carried on throughout his life.

Describing him in the service as a "tank of a man", she continued: "You had so many friends. I never knew who you were with but if only you knew how much you were loved and cared about."

Beginning his rugby career at Bargoed at 10 years old, Owen, known as 'Benny' to friends, progressed through the junior, youth and senior ranks at Caerphilly and represented the Dragons at U16 and U18 levels before moving on to pack down for Nelson in Division One East of the WRU National League.

Despite first starting a course in mechanics at the Coleg Gwent Crosskeys campus, the rugby player went on to find his calling after pursuing bricklaying, alongside attending Merthyr College.

Known for his love of Shrek, Twin Towers and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, messages from friends read out to the congregation told of a community shaken by Owen's death.

Claire continued: "Rugby became a massive part of all of our lives really.

"Your whole life was about rugby. You loved it and loved playing for Caerphilly, and when you didn't have a game for them you would wait for the phone to ring [from other teams].

"We would be doing kits with half an hour to spare and we won't even talk about rugby boots.

"One year you went from a size six to a size 12 in nine months. All we did that year was spend money on boots and trainers for you."

Over the course of the service, Claire asked mourners to turn to each other and "have a dance" as Billy Ocean's 'Love Really Hurts Without You' played from speakers on the pitch.

At the end, mourners gave Owen one final round of applause as Charlie Puth's 'See You Again' filled the grounds.

She added: "Off the pitch, you would always make me and Meg laugh.

"It was always the three of us messing about. Folly Farm springs to mind falling in the goat enclosure because you were being nosey.


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