FRIENDS and family have paid tribute to a recruitment manager who died at the age of 46.

John Rishton, of Accrington, died after a short illness in Royal Blackburn Hospital.

His career saw him work for several human resources companies across the North West.

After leaving Sheffield Hallam University he started off at Manpower recruiting workers for the Blackburn BT telephone exchange and went on to become a regional manager.

The former Mount Carmel High School pupil went on to work for other firms in Warrington, Liverpool, Manchester and Blackburn.

His family and friends knew him best as an avid Liverpool FC fan who loved socialising and taking the mickey out of friends with his sharp intellect and acerbic wit.

His elder brother Paul, 49, who also used to work at BT in Blackburn, said: "We're all heartbroken by his death.

"John had so many great friends because he was such a great laugh to be around.

"Whenever we were out in a large group everyone would want to chat to John because he was so funny and charismatic.

"He also had many great work friends and was a fantastic, well-loved character wherever he worked."

His friend Roger Airey, of Rawtenstall, went to Mount Carmel with John.

He said: "The thing I'll miss most about John is his wicked, dry sense of humour. He was also a great friend though when things went wrong, he'd always be there for you."

Steven Smithson, of Oswaldtwistle, had known John since their primary school days.

Steven said: "We could go quite a while without seeing each other but whenever we met up again we clicked straight away and the laughter followed. He was that sort of down-to-earth person."

John leaves mum and dad Eileen and Ronnie, siblings Wayne, Paul and Louise and nephews Ben, Oliver, James and Tom and niece Alexandra.

His private family funeral will take place at Accrington Crematorium on Monday October 19. Donations in memory of John are being received on behalf of Cancer Research UK.