| 6.1°C Belfast

Friends reeling after sudden death of Gurty

Tributes continue to pour in following the sudden death of a Lisburn Road hair salon manager who won the hearts of audiences around the country after appearing in a BBC television series earlier this year.

Gareth Dickson (pictured), 28, a Toni & Guy salon manager and renowned Belfast socialite passed away in his sleep during the early hours of Sunday, June 26.

In April this year, Gareth, known as ‘Gurty’ to everyone who knew him, was cheered on by thousands of viewers who watched him take part in the BBC NI’s five part series, ‘Going the distance’.

The programme that followed the story of eight novice runners who joined presenter Stephen Nolan to “shed blood, sweat and tears” as they trained for their first Belfast Marathon.

In just a few days, thousands of people across the city — many from the fashion and creative industries — have paid tribute to the “rising star” on a facebook tribute site.

A spokesperson from Toni & Guy said: “For all that knew Gareth either professionally or socially there is one thing that can be agreed, Gareth was the life and soul of every event, he will be greatly missed by everyone. His hearty laugh bellowed and could only make you smile.

“It was a privilege to know Gareth and he will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gareth's family and best friend Ryan.”

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Tracey Hall, director of the Style Academy said: “There are no words, there aren't enough tears, to express how all your friends are feeling Gareth. Generous to a fault, never judgmental, humble and beautiful from the inside out. The fashion world, the hairdressing world, in fact the world in general will be a very 'dull' place without you in it.”

Gareth is survived by his father Noel, mother Violet and brother Aaron.

Gareth’s father Noel Dickson said: “He had so many friends in such a short life and seemed to have touched everyone.”

A service of thanksgiving for Gareth’s life will be held in Belfast Cathedral, St. Anne’s, tomorrow morning (July 1) at 11am. afterwards to Roselawn Crematorium (arriving at 1pm).

Everyone “who knew and loved Gurty” is encouraged to attend The Fitzwilliam Hotel at 3pm for champagne and nibbles.