TRIBUTES have been paid to one of the founders of Colne FC who has died aged 88.
Bill Purcell was held in ‘high regard’ by players and fans alike and he attended every single home and away match and manned the gate before the onset of dementia two years ago.
He died with his wife Elsie by his side on July 6, almost 61 years to the day since the couple met.
Elsie said: “He was always a big football fan and loved Colne Dynamoes.
“He helped the club with everything. He was also a big supporter of Blackpool FC. He had an aunt and uncle in Blackpool and as a child they would take him and his brothers to watch – that’s where it all began.”
Bill, born in Colne, was serving in the army when he met Elsie on Blackpool front in 1953.
Elsie added: “We were both from Colne but had not met before. We just got chatting. He was with a friend and I blame him for everything!
“He asked me out and that was it. A year later we were engaged and a year after that we were married. We were very happy together.”
After marrying in March 1955, the couple went on to have two children, Glenda Louise and Gary, and two grandchildren, Jodie, now 23, and Harry, five.
Bill moved into Andrew Smith House in Nelson 12 months ago. Elsie said that the week before he passed away, he was struggling to know his family because of the dementia.
She said: “He just wore out. But I was right there beside him when he went, holding his hand.” David Blacklock, honorary life president of Colne FC, said: “He will be very sadly missed.
“He was a Dynamoes fan before they went defunct in 1990 and when we were starting up in 1996 he was right there with us and helped found the club.
“He’d keep the scores for us and send them all off to the league so we couldn’t do it without him.
“Bill was quite a character and if someone would say a player scored in the 35th minute, he’d say it was the 35th and a half.
“It’s just one of the things we will all remember about him and as a fond mark of respect, we will be holding a minute-and-a- half silence on Saturday.”