THE family of a hugely popular Cogan man who died last month have paid tribute to 'a true legend’.

Ian James, better known as Yano, died on September 25 after a short battle with cancer.

A natural sportsman who excelled in golf and represented Wales at darts, the 57-year-old was a regular at both the Top House pub in Cogan and Dinas Powys Golf Club.

His wife of 27 years Alison said he was loved by everyone, young and old.

“We met when he came into the Coronation Club, where I was a barmaid, after playing for Cogan in football," she said.

“I stood him up twice - but then we enjoyed 27 happy years together.”

Alison, who lived with Yano in Charlotte Street, said he ‘could light up any room’.

“People would flock to him as soon as he walked into a bar,” she added.

“He had the best sense of humour, lived life to the full, and touched the lives of many people.

“So many people attended his funeral at St Augustines that the vicar said he had never seen anything like it. It was huge.

“I am so proud to have been his wife."

Alison said Yano, who became an electrician’s mate after leaving St Cyres, enjoyed a ‘beautiful relationship’ with his son Wayne, and one of his proudest moments was winning a golf tournament with his son.

Wayne, 32, said his dad was his ‘idol’.

“He was an amazing dad and the proud granddad of three young children," he said.

“He was the most natural sportsman I ever saw. He played at good standards in rugby and football, and enjoyed skittles and pool - and drinking!

“But he was exceptional at golf and darts. He was one of those people who was good at everything, and he had the personality to go with it.

“He was my hero,” added Wayne, who with Alison thanked local people for their support, adding: "We are so grateful for all the messages, flowers and food. It’s been overwhelming.”

“The people of Cogan have been unbelievable," added Alison.

"I want to thank every single one of them. Community spirit is definitely still alive.”