ONE of Lancashire’s top athletics clubs will be paying tribute to one of their own this week following the death of Joseph Fleming.

Mr Fleming, athletics coach and former Blackburn College lecturer, died peacefully at the age of 74 at Springhill Care Home in Accrington on March 30, after having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia some time ago.

He leaves a legacy as a dedicated and inspirational coach at Blackburn Harriers Athletic Club, who will be paying tribute to their departed colleague with a clap in his memory on Thursday, as well as at Hyndburn Athletic Club and Lammack Juniors FC.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Joe Fleming with some of the athletes he coached

Daughter Julie Brooks said: “Dad was a popular man who devoted much of his own time not only to us but to many others.

“He spent over 30 years coaching young athletes at Hyndburn Athletic Club and Blackburn Harriers.

“He coached to a very high standard and was so proud of all his achievements.”

Mr Fleming specialised as a high jump coach at the club and along with his work at Blackburn Harriers and Hyndburn Athletic Club was also a popular coach at Lammack Juniors.

This dedication to teaching new skills to young people was one that Mr Fleming carried with him throughout his life, working as an auto electronics lecturer at Blackburn College, while Mr Fleming’s son Mark, daughter Julie and grandchildren Jordan, Dillan, Olivia, Bradley and Millie, brother Vincent and sister Marie all cherished the time they spent with him.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Joe Fleming with award winner Eleesha Charnley

A lifelong Blackburn Rovers season ticket holder, Mr Fleming would often take Mark and Julie to games at Ewood Park.

Mr Fleming was still a regular sight at the ground along with his brother Vincent and friends John, Dave and Norman right up until the pandemic hit.

His sporting passion was passed on to Julie when he helped her to coach the school football team during her first few years as a teacher at Holy Souls Primary School, Blackburn.

Harriers chairman George Davies, whose friendship with Mr Fleming goes back decades, saw his departed colleague’s skill at seeing young athletes through to the very top of their games at close hand.

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Blackburn Harriers' annual award ceremony

He said: “From athletics point of view he was perfect all around, he was very, very knowledgeable.

“He always supported his athletes rain or shine, he went down twice a week and followed them to all their competitions.”

Mr Davies said that a highlight came when his friend was invited to present the club’s annual awards in 2018, with one of the recipients being his granddaughter Olivia.

Mr Fleming’s beloved wife Patricia died suddenly not long before his death.

The clap will take place on the track at Witton Park Arena. This will begin at 7.10pm with Harriers’ sprint coach Caerwen Butler, who was coached by Mr Fleming, signalling the start of the clap.

The club says that members and supporters who want to join in can do so, as long as they are socially distanced outside the track perimeter fencing.

Meanwhile, donations in Joe Fleming’s name can be made to Cafod or The Lewy Body Society, c/o The Alty Funeral Service, email: