The family of a man who tragically died of severe head injuries after falling outside a petrol station have spoken of their shock and devastation.
Matt Kelly, 40, of Hodder Street, Accrington, was found by a police officer lying on the pavement outside the Tesco Express garage on Abbey Street at around 11.30pm on Saturday, February 17.
The former Holy Family Secondary School and St Anne’s junior school pupil was rushed to Royal Blackburn Hospital but sadly passed away the next day surrounded by his loving family.
Police confirmed the railway industry machine operator’s death is not being treated as suspicious but have appealed for information.
A file has been passed to Lancashire Coroners Court.
Matt’s parents Michael and Janet Kelly, formerly of Barnfield Street in Accrington and now living in Saltburn-by-the-Sea in North Yorkshire, were at his bedside when he died.
Michael, 64, said: “It was a nightmare. We had a knock at the door at 5am from Cleveland Police saying Matt was in Blackburn Royal.
"They said he was very severely injured in a fall outside. When we got there he was on a life support machine.
"We were fully told that there was no chance of any kind of recovery and any operation was impossible.
"We were there along with his brother Jonathan. We are all shocked and devastated.”
Michael believes a bad injury last November could have contributed to Matt’s accident.
He said: “He was up on the Coppice with his boisterous dog Paddy and was knocked over.
"He twisted his knee almost 90 degrees and dislocated his knee.
“They had to have the mountain rescue up there and bring him down.
“He was still off work because of this injury and I think it made him very susceptible to falling and slipping easily.
“The police have been absolutely wonderful and very compassionate.
“They have assured us they’ve found absolutely nothing than to suggest it was a tragic accident.
“It does make it a bit easier to hear that. I wouldn’t have liked to have thought that there had been any violence involved.”
Former rail freight industry worker Michael said Matt was a very popular and sociable person.
He said: “He was the sort of person who would make three friends in three minutes wherever he was.
“He was very social, very open and would really make a friend with anybody. I wish I had been a bit like him at times.
"We have been overwhelmed on both Facebook and phone calls.
"It’s comforting to know that he had so many acquaintances and friends.”
Matt leaves dad Michael, mum Janet, brother Jonathan and his partner Desreen and their daughter Tabetha, niece Analise and many friends including Sarah McGee and her partner Steve, Sol and Carrie.
His funeral is yet to be arranged but is being handled by Hyndburn Funeral Services.
Anyone with information can call police on 101 quoting incident reference 1671 of February 17.