A POPULAR Blackburn sandwich shop boss has collapsed and died after returning home from a jog.

Tony Hodgson, 44, suffered a fatal heart attack at his home in Revidge Road, Blackburn, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Hodgson ran the Well Bread sandwich shop in Blackburn market.

His partner Julie Harwood, 42, said his death had been a total shock.

She said: "He was a massive character, larger than life in many ways, especially as he was 6ft 4in tall.

"He loved sport, loved to party and was an amazing person.

"I'm just in total shock because things like this don't happen to 'Hodge', as he was known to many people.

"He had played for Blackburn Rugby Union Rugby Club (BRUFC) for 20 years until retiring last year and had been captain six times in a row, which is practically unheard of.

"He really did think he was captain invincible.

"All the customers at the shop loved him and he was a very strong character.

"We had been together for two years and we were so happy together.

"His son Oliver Hodgson, 11 is starting Queen Elizabeth Grammar School this week and that made Tony so happy because he'd always wanted him to go there.

"He had found peace at last."

Mr Hodgson had run Well Bread for two years after doing several other jobs that included being a policeman in Chorley in the early 1990s.

As a mark of respect to Mr Hodgson, members of BRUFC's three teams held a minutes silence prior to kick off and wore black armbands before their games at the weekend.

A spokesman for BRUFC said: "Hodge was a very popular and well respected playing stalwart for Burn for many years and only retired from playing at the end of the 2005/06 season.

"He was first 15 captain and also played for Fylde and Vale of Lune. "

The funeral is this Thursday at St Silas CE Church, Preston New Road, Blackburn, at 10.30am. The wake will be at BRUFC, Ramsgreave Drive.