A 'warm and lovely man and excellent police officer' who served the force for more than 35 years has sadly died.

John Whitehead, affectionately known as 'Bonce' died suddenly on July 2, following a short period of illness.

The 66-year-old father of one, who lived in Clitheroe, worked in CID before his retirement in 2011, and will be fondly remembered for his sporting prowess and love of football.

He leaves behind daughter, Hannah, sister, Anne and brother-in-law Stephen.

A statement from John's family said: "John was loved and will be missed by all his family.

"A devoted and excellent police officer who had served for over 36 years with Lancashire constabulary, following his graduation in 1975, John adored his job and would leave no stone unturned in his quest to solve a crime.

"John worked in CID and was popular and respected by colleagues and the communities in which he worked.

"Leading up to his retirement, he served as evidence exhibits officer.

"He then delivered the prescriptions for Lloyds Pharmacy and made many friends along the way."

John's family said he was always kind and fair and had time for everyone.

The statement continued: "He also loved sports and played to a good standard in cricket, darts, pool and dominoes – practically everything but rugby, which he said was far too physical for him."

He also enjoyed decorating and along with his friend Ian Welsh, they would offer their skills to friends and family.

John will be remembered for being an excellent police officer and a warm and lovely man.

Detective Chief Superintendent - head of investigations, Mark Winstanley, said: “We are all deeply saddened by the death of our former colleague and good friend John Whitehead.

"Detective Constable 564, John was affectionately known as Bonce, and served the Constabulary for more than 35 years prior to his retirement in 2011.

"He was an outstanding detective and a stalwart of Blackburn CID before moving on to Clitheroe CID, and latterly working in the Force Major Incident Team at Blackburn.

"A real gentleman, John cared passionately about the job; was always prepared to share his experience with his colleagues and he was never short of a good story.

"John was also an extremely talented sportsman, representing the constabulary at both football and cricket, and following his retirement he has maintained regular contact with his current and former colleagues, in particular through his love of golf, fishing and horse racing.

"He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all of us, and our thoughts are with his daughter Hannah, his sister Anne and his family at this sad time.”

Donations in memory of John may be made to North West Air Ambulance by clicking following this link memorygiving.com/johncalkeldwhitehead.

John's funeral will take place at 1pm on Monday July 13 and is being live-streamed via the Champ Funeral Services website.