A BURNLEY father-of-three collapsed and died after dancing at his office Christmas party in front of his wife and work colleagues.

Eamonn Kilbride, 46, was attending the annual Thwaites party at Whitehall Country Club, Darwen, when he began to complain of chest pains.

Despite the best efforts of paramedics and CPR from his wife of 23 years Julie, he was pronounced dead as he arrived at Royal Blackburn Hospital.

The IT manager’s family, who live in Padiham Road, Burnley, said the coroner told them that he had suffered from acute heart failure.

Mrs Kilbride, who was also celebrating her birthday at the party on Saturday night, paid tribute to a ‘loving husband’ who always put his family first.

She said: “I want people to know how he would help anybody whether it was a life-long friend, or someone he had just met.

“He was a great family man and he worked so hard.

“Eamonn was always the life of the party and loved dancing.

“We were having a fantastic time at the Christmas party and Eamonn had just finished dancing to Gangnam Style.

“He was up on stage and entertaining everybody.

“He said he had a bit of a pain and just collapsed.

“I tried to revive him until the ambulance got there, but by the time he got to the hospital he was gone.”

Mr Kilbride moved to Burnley from Ireland in 1985 and was a staunch Liverpool fan.

He had been the manager of Burnley Boys Club Old Boys football team, winning the division with them in 2004.

Mrs Kilbride said: “Eamonn was such an intelligent man. He inspired our children and made sure they had a good education.

“He loved me dearly and would tell people all the time.

“I know he thought the world of us.”

Mr Kilbride, a keen golfer, had three children, Laurajade, 22, Jack, 21, and Conor, 18, who are all at university.

Jack said: “He was a marvellous man and he was really funny.

“He always put effort into everything. He just oozed charisma.”

Tributes poured in on Facebook for Mr Kilbride, who had worked at Thwaites in Blackburn for 16 years.

His cousin Pauline Mulvy said: “My dear cousin Eamonn may you rest in peace. My heart aches for his wife Julie and his family, including his sisters and his mother. You are in my thoughts and prayers here in Dublin. What shocking news too hear.”

Mal McNulty posted: “RIP my dear friend Eamonn can't believe you have been taken from us so suddenly and so young.

“I will miss your frequent text messages and funny jokes you would send me but will remember all the good times we had especially when you came home to Dublin.

“Our condolences to Julie, Laura Jade, Jack and Conor. God bless.”

Cal Crymble posted: “So shocked to hear that Eamonn has passed away.

“One of the kindest people you could ever wish to meet, never failed to put a smile on the face of anyone who met him. My thoughts and prayers are with all the family.”

Ben Edwards posted: “The world has lost a great man. RIP Eamonn your friends and family will always love you.”

An initial investigation was launched into Mr Kilbride’s death by police, but officers quickly established no suspicious circumstances.

A file has been passed to East Lancashire Coroner Michael Singleton and a post mortem examination was carried out yesterday (Oct 11).

Neil Bullows, proprietor at the Whitehall Hotel said: “It is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with his family.

“It is horrendous and an awful time of year for it to happen.”

A spokesman for the North West Ambulance Service said: “We got a 999 call at 11.31pm to a man in his 40s.

“A rapid response vehicle arrived on scene at 11.37pm and an ambulance at 11.39pm.”

Mr Kilbride’s funeral takes place at 10am on Wednesday, December 19, at St Mary’s RC Church in Yorkshire Street, Burnley.

Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to British Heart Foundation care of Alderson and Horan in Rossendale Road, Burnley.