Tributes have been paid to a much-loved and decorated volunteer with the Accrington Air cadets following his sudden death from cancer, aged 68.
Michael Procter suffered a stroke in November but when admitted to hospital doctors found he also had terminal cancer and he passed away in Burnley General Hospital on Sunday, December 6.
His son, Shaun, 44, said his death was a total shock.
He said: “He had a stroke and went into hospital, and just a month later he died in the arms of my mum and myself.”
Michael’s chief passion was volunteering with the Air Cadets, with whom he began working in 1988.
He started as an assistant instructor but in 1989 was awarded a uniformed role as a Warrant Officer for his leadership skills, and went on to work as a Range Officer teaching shooting practice.
Michael volunteered at Pendle, Burnley and Blackburn squadrons but spent his last years working with Accrington Air Training Corps (ATC). The Accrington cadets are carrying out a guard of honour at his funeral.
In 2000 he was presented with the Lancashire Lord Lieutenant’s award for outstanding service and devotion to the ATC.
Shaun said: “He was amazing to me and an amazing father. I don’t know how he could have been better.
“We had a wonderful relationship.”
Michael worked as a heavy goods driver and coach driver, and had a ‘sheer passion’ for driving, shooting and travelling.
Born in Burnley in 1947, Michael spent his childhood in Australia but he moved back to the UK when he was 16, meeting his wife Sheila shortly after arriving back in Lancashire.
The young couple were married at St Mark’s Church in 1967 when they were both just 18-years-old.
The couple had been planning a world cruise to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 2017.
Sheila said: “He was an amazing rock and a wonderful husband. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for us.”
Michael, who lived in Burnley, leaves wife Sheila, son Shaun, brother Derek Procter and sisters Marjorie Guzyj and Maureen Warren.
His funeral is being held at Sion Baptist Church in Burnley at 9.15am today (Friday, December 11) followed by cremation at Burnley Crematorium at 10.40am.
Flowers are welcome and donations to 1035 Accrington Squadron training corps.