TONY Hopper’s wife Sue has written a moving tribute to her husband.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday night she spoke of her pride in former Barrow AFC footballer Tony, who died on Tuesday night after a battle with motor neurone disease.

She wrote: “Last night I lost my best friend, lover, husband and daddy to our beautiful three boys.

“Tony was most certainly my better half and I will be lost without his calming influence in our crazy life.

“Tony, you will live on in Dan, Adam and Jack, who are so proud to have had you in their lives.

“Thank you to everybody who contributed to our fund which enabled us to create lots of “Hoppy” memories since last January, we are forever in your debt.

“Also thank you for supporting us in Tony’s MNDA fightback fund, which currently stands in excess of £46k.

“To all of Tony’s friends and family who have supported us over this journey... words cannot express how grateful I am, I could not have done it without you guys.”

Family, friends and former teammates have been among those to pay moving tributes to Tony, a hugely popular figure from his playing days at Carlisle and Workington Reds.

People across Cumbria have rallied behind the Hopper family since it was revealed that Tony was battling motor neurone disease.

They rallied behind a campaign to raise money and give his family “Hoppy memories” which enabled them to enjoy special experiences, including a trip to Disneyland.

Supporters have also raised more than £45,000 through a fightback fund launched by the family in support of the MND Association.

Carlisle United legend Jimmy Glass has paid tribute to Tony.

Jimmy is the goalkeeper who scored the last-minute winning goal which kept Carlisle in the Football League on the final day of the 1998-99 season. Tony played in the match.

Jimmy said: “Tony was a good-hearted lad. Something like this brings home to you the importance of enjoying your life and your loved ones.

“It kicks you up the bum a bit and makes you realise we probably aren’t being the best version of ourselves.”

Tony’s family say he passed away with his loved ones surrounding him at Carlisle’s Eden Valley Hospice.

In a statement, they said: “The support from the community has been overwhelming since Tony’s diagnosis in January 2017.”