Punters pay tribute to loveable Huddersfield landlord famous for his 'dry wit and one liners'

Emotional tributes have been paid to a well-loved and popular man who ran a Huddersfield pub for many years.

Derek Hopton, who has died age 65 following a short battle with cancer, ran The Bridge pub at Longroyd Bridge with his wife Dawn for 15 years from 2006.

Derek, who came from Morley, near Leeds, made Huddersfield his home when he and Dawn took over the pub. Their efforts were rewarded in 2013 when it won the Examiner Pub of the Year competition. The pub was known for its live bands, karaoke and quiz nights and the 'secret' beer garden overlooking the canal.

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Friends described Derek as a funny man who had taken to running a pub 'like a duck to water'. Linda Roebuck, a friend of the Hoptons, said Derek had never worked in a pub until he and Dawn had taken on The Bridge.

It was all the more remarkable that he succeeded in such a demanding role having lost a leg in a motorcycle accident when he was 17. Linda recalls that Derek was known for his dry wit and 'one liners' and his love of motorcycling.

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She said: "Anyone could go in The Bridge and he would make them so welcome. He was known for his dry sense of humour."

She said Derek and Dawn were "much loved by their customers who came from all over West Yorkshire and Manchester for their live music nights."

Dawn posted a tribute to her husband on social media, writing: "You were such a loveable, witty, funny bloke and loved by so many."

The couple, who shared five children, got married in 2009 and, naturally, partied at The Bridge after tying the knot. Derek died on July 3 in St James's Hospital in Leeds after a short battle with cancer.

The Bridge pub is expected to close its doors for good on Sunday, July 21, with the current landlords, Gill and Alan Waling, pulling the final pints. Friends and family of Derek Hopton are planning to attend the final day on July 21 to remember him and the good times they had.

Earlier this year, Gill announced the pub would be closing as it had been sold and was destined to become flats.