A celebration of the life of Walter Swan will take place tomorrow, Friday, beginning at the King’s Hall in Ilkley.

Friends and family will gather from noon for a 12.30pm start to pay tribute to the ‘devoted husband, dad and friend’ who died suddenly at the age of 59 on Easter Monday of a suspected heart attack at his home in Moor Lane, Burley-in-Wharfedale.

Walter was the creative development manager of Ilkley Playhouse and leaves his wife Niccola, 55, and sons Laurie, 26, and Finlay, 24.

He will be remembered as a passionate member of the Playhouse, supporter of the Ilkley Literature Festival and a keen sportsman.

The first element of Friday’s funeral will be a celebration of Walter’s life, mainly through tributes from family and friends, and everyone who knew him is invited to attend. Guests are invited to take advantage of specially arranged parking for around 75 cars all day at Ilkley Rugby Club. The event at King’s Hall will be followed by a burial to be attended by family and close friends only at Tarn Moor Memorial Woodland, in Skipton, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales where Walter spent so many happy times.

Guests who don’t travel to Tarn Moor will be able to walk to Ilkley Playhouse in Weston Road, immediately from the King’s Hall, where there is an opportunity to continue celebrating Walter’s life.

This will be very informal, with tea, cakes, sandwiches and wine provided, plus a bar. Walter loved cake and guests are invited to bring one along if they like.

People are also invited to bring photos of Walter to be pinned up and there will be a tribute book. His favourite music will be playing and there will be a big slideshow of photos of him and copies of the poems which were read at the graveside will be available.

Niccola said: “There is no dress code and we want to stress that this is a celebration and formal dress is not necessary.

“We would like to record an enormous thank you to the vast number of friends who have volunteered their time to help make the day so special.”