TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular football referee from Burnley who has died.

Dennis Orr died peacefully on Thursday at the Dove Court Care Home in Colne, with his daughter Laura at his bedside.

The 70-year-old was well-known for his love of football, especially supporting Burnley FC.

Daughter Laura has been inundated with messages of support paying tribute to the former Burnley Grammar School pupil.

She said: “He was daft and always cheerful and smiling.

“He did not let life drag him down and took every day as it came.

“He was really warm-hearted person and it shows how much people thought of him.

“I have been very humbled and grateful and comforted to know how much he was loved and what people thought of him. He touched the hearts of everyone and the people who knew him.”

The 31-year-old shared her memories of her dad.

She said: “I always remember him taking me to Towneley Hall to see the Big Bear and enjoying an ice cream afterwards, then taking me swimming on a Saturday to Wavelengths on the train.

“He loved taking me on bike rides, then watching him referee on a Saturday and Sunday up Townley and doing family holidays to Haven and Spain with family and friends. These are the memories I will always cherish.

“As time moved on, we all had families of our own. He became a grandad to Ryan, Jessica, Hannah, Amy, Ellie, Aaron, Faith and Amber.

“He often looked after my children Ellie and Amber and they used to go to the fair and even play kerby on the street.

“He would sit in my garden reading his newspaper and playing games with them. He was a real family man.

“His stepson Antony remembers him taking him to Wembley to watch Burnley when he was younger.

“His other stepson James has memories of him getting him back into football again and getting him his first job when he was 17. He loved going on the turf with his granddaughters Ellie and Amy and stepson Antony. He cheered and shouted when Burnley scored.

“He was a true fan of Burnley FC."

After school, Dennis started working at the Bank Hall Colliery as a train driver in the pits and then moved to being a forklift driver at Michelin, and Compound Engineering before finishing at E T Riddiough in Burnley as a warehouse operative until he retired.

Close friend John Cheetham paid tribute to the Clarets fan.

He said: “I have known him for the best part of 60 years and have played with him at various local clubs in my football career.

“Dennis was a very good footballer - hard but very good and was very fearless on the pitch and was an all-round good sportsman as he played cricket too.”

The 69-year-old added: “He was well-loved and a great character around the town.

“He used to be a referee in the local leagues up until his mid-60s and had been doing it since his 40s so he was refereeing different generations of players.”