Karate teacher Mark Beevers loses cancer battle at 43, just eight weeks after diagnosis
A DEVOTED dad and "passionate" martial arts teacher has died just eight weeks after discovering he had cancer.
Hundreds of people are expected to turn out today for the funeral of Mark Beevers, general secretary of the Takeshi Karate Association, who ran a club in Hornsea.
Mr Beevers, 43, also a primary school teacher, died at Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham on November 4. Following a car crash about 12 years ago in Market Weighton in which wife Stephanie was killed, Mr Beevers had brought up his daughter Jessica, 16, alone.
Nicola Sinclair, whom he planned to marry next year, has led tributes to the "larger than life" family man.
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She said: "Mark was loving, caring and would put everyone else before him.
"He was just a fantastic person. He taught me to love and respect myself.
"He was a real role model for my son, Fraser.
"My family and friends loved him because he made me so happy."
Mr Beevers was proud of his daughter, who had turned into "stunning, gorgeous girl", said Ms Sinclair.
"It's not easy for a man to bring up a daughter on his own. Mark realised he had to get in touch with his feminine side quickly," she said.
"The two of them would have girly face pack nights and talk about boys – the sorts of things girls would normally talk to their mothers about."
Stuart Morfitt, Takeshi Karate Association's chief instructor, had been friends with Mr Beevers for almost 25 years.
He said: "The kids he taught in Hornsea absolutely loved him. He also taught in Hedon, where he was adored, too.
"Mark was a larger-than- life character and was so passionate about karate.
"Even when he was very poorly in hospital, he flashed a grin at me and said, 'I still want your job, you know.
"It was just a really nice grin and it will stay with me forever."
Jon Dimberline, chairman of the association, whose members range in age from 6 to 66, runs a club in Withernsea.
He said: "Mark was a very genuine, big-hearted, happy guy.
"He was always upbeat and so passionate about his karate. He always wanted to learn new ways of doing things.
"We were all so shocked and saddened at how quickly he went – eight weeks.
"It's unbelievable what has happened. Mark had so much left to give. Everyone knew him."
Mr Beevers, a third-dan black belt, served for years in the Royal Navy before completing a teaching degree.
He worked as a supply teacher at many East Riding schools, including Thorn- gumbald Primary.
Mr Dimberline, who had known him for almost a decade, said Mr Beevers had found love again after all he had endured, before being diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer.
"You could tell Mark and Nicola really loved each other," he said. "They were opposites in many ways but were absolutely great together."
Julie Ellis, head teacher of Thorngumbald Primary School, said Mr Beevers was a popular Year 5 teacher, teaching nine and 10 year olds, from September last year to July.
She said: "He was a caring, larger-than-life figure at this school. He was well-liked by his colleagues and the children.
"He was always cheerful and bounced around the school with a smile on his face.
"Mark had a one-year contract at our school, but had taught here before as a supply teacher."
Mr Beevers' funeral was being held at 10.45am at St Nicholas Church in Hornsea, followed by cremation at Haltemprice Crematorium in Willerby.
His family have requested, in lieu of flowers, donations to Macmillan Nurses and The Way Foundation – a support network for widowed parents.