Tributes have been paid to a former semi-professional footballer who played the game he loved until well into his 60s.
“Goal machine” striker Harry Breckell died at White Ash Brook care home in Oswaldtwistle aged 77, after a decade battling prostate cancer.
Harry had an illustrious local career, playing as a striker for Padiham United in his younger years, before moving to Whinney Hill FC.
After he retired he joined the ‘Strawmere’ team, which played in the Accrington and District Combination league and was made up of local ex-players. He only stepped back from the pitch aged 65 after playing for more than 50 years.
His daughter Pamela Hollister, 52, said: “Dad always loved football and was a fantastic player. He was a goal machine, he was a gentleman generally but not on the pitch! A lot of people have said he was the best player they ever played against.
“He was still playing at 65 with all the older players who he used to play with. They got a team together because they just wanted to keep fit but they kept beating all the younger teams. It was a massive part of his life.”
Harry was born and bred in Accrington, living on Dowry Street and Manor Street.
He worked initially at Accrington Brickworks and then as a bin wagon driver for Hyndburn council for 30 years. He took early retirement in 1995 to look after his granddaughters Chloe and Leah, and became a part-time warehouse cleaner at Broughtons.
His other hobbies included line dancing with the ‘Applejacks’ group, roller-skating with his granddaughters, caravanning and holidays to Benidorm. He passed away just ten months after losing the love of his life, and wife of 62 years, Ann Breckell who he married aged 19.
Pamela said: “They lived round the corner from each other and met playing out on the street when they were 14, and were together ever since. I don’t think he ever got over my mum’s death. They had never been apart all those years, and after she went he didn’t want to carry on.
“He loved being a grandad and doted on his grandchildren. He always had a smile on his face, and was simply a brilliant person. He leaves a big hole in all our lives.”
He leaves his only daughter Pamela and his two granddaughters Chloe and Leah, his sisters Margaret and Theresa and brothers-in-law Peter and Steven.
His funeral will be held at Accrington Crematorium at 3pm on Tuesday, April 18, then onto Peel Park pub for a celebration of his life.
Family flowers only please, with donations to Cancer Research and funeral enquiries to Kirby and Hughes Funeral Service, Blackburn Road, Accrington.