Tributes have been paid to a family man who was one of a kind.

Wayne Hardisty was described by his sister Rebecca Kitchener as a loving big brother to her and younger brother Gavin.

The siblings grew up on the Highfield estate in Cockermouth where they would play football in the family home’s kitchen.

Wayne had been a resident at homeless hostel Calderwood House in Egremont for a couple of months in 2018 and had helped the hostel raise awareness of homelessness as well as raising money for the cause.

Rebecca, 33, said: “Wayne has always been really protective of me and Gavin, he was someone I aways looked up to.

“To me he was one of a kind, he was funny, he had a good sense of humour.

“He was caring and he was a big family man, it broke his heart when our mum died eight years ago.”

Mr Hardisty suffered from depression for 20 years and things got more difficult for him in recent years. His relationship broke down and he became homeless.

During a speech given for a Calderwood House event in 2018 in front of 300 people, Mr Hardisty said: “It was my lowest point. It was at this point I decided I needed help and through various channels I ended up at Calderwood House.

“Initially I was embarrassed to be there – having been in the army at the age of 17, I never anticipated at 39 I would end up in a homeless hostel.

“To end up in Calderwood House you know something has gone wrong in your life, But believe me there is no better place to go when you are down on your luck.

“Thanks to the help, support and guidance of Calderwood House my future is more optimistic and I know if I have a bad day I can also drop back on them at any point.

“Nobody in this room knows what is around the corner and anyone could find themselves in a similar position at any time.”

Rebecca said she will always treasure the memories of spending time with Wayne, their brother Gavin, 37, and cousins Robert, Julie and Clare.

“We were always very close. We grew up on the estate and it was a typical estate life, I wouldn’t change anything for the world. We always played football and cricket outside, that’s why I’m so sporty.

“Wayne was a huge Leeds United fan so at his funeral we have a personalised flag and we’ll be wearing Leeds United colours.”

The funeral takes place today (Wednesday) and a further ceremony will take place in three weeks in Cockermouth, where Mr Hardisty will be buried with his mother Doris.

Rachel Holliday, director at Calderwood House, said one of her fondest memories of Mr Hardisty was the day of an event, when Calderwood House residents had blown lots of balloons, only to realise they needed to be transported to the venue.

She said: “They wouldn’t all fit in my car, Wayne said:’I’ve got a plan’ and tied them all to the back of the van - problem solved! We had such a laugh that day. He helped out all day with the other residents. It was such a great day, I was so proud to work alongside him, and that’s how I will remember him.”

The family are fundraising to pay for the funeral. To donate visit: