A WAR hero died days before Christmas while out walking his dog in Towneley Park.

Joe Calverley, 90, suffered a heart attack while out with wife Barbara and collie Pip in the park.

Mr Calverley, who served in Bomber Command during the Second World War, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) for his service.

On returning to Burnley he worked as an electrician and in electrical wholesale, and was a volunteer on the East Lancashire Railway until he was 86.

Barbara said: “We would go out walking Pip in Towneley Park every day. On this occasion we had been to the cafe and had a pot of tea. As we set off he turned around to say hi to a friend and then just dropped.

“Three people tried to help him and then the paramedics and Air Ambulance did their best, but there was nothing they could do.

“They worked on him for quite a while in the park and in the end there was a crowd around. He was very well known in the town and lots of people were concerned for him.”

Joe, a member and former chairman of Westfield Bowling Club for 45 years, had a narrow escape during the war when three of his colleague were killed.

Their plane was targeted by anti-aircraft fire over Norway which killed three people, while Joe was one of four to survive a crash landing in the sea.

Barbara, who was married to Joe for 51 years, said: “He has always been very active and fit for his age, he volunteered on the railways until he was 86.

“A lot of his friends were younger than he was and he was very popular. I think there will be a lot of people at his funeral.”

As well as Barbara, Joe also leaves behind his children from a previous relationship Annette, Pauline and Allan, as well as four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

The funeral takes place at Burnley Crematorium on Wednesday at 11.20am.