Barnoldswick kit man Jack will be missed

Jack Sharples with daughter Greta. (S)
Jack Sharples with daughter Greta. (S)

A popular and much loved community-minded Barnoldswick man has died peacefully in his sleep.

Football mad Jack Sharples (80) died on Thursday, August 1st, at his Kelbrook home and will be fondly remembered by family and friends, and particularly those at Barnoldswick Town FC.

Born in Clifford Street, Barnoldswick, in 1933, he was educated in his hometown.

It was about the age of 13 when Mr Sharples’s talents as a footballer flourished. Rather than adding to his education in the classroom in 1945-46, an additional school year added by an Education Act, his school didn’t have enough staff so PE teacher Rennie Nutter acted as coach during a year of non-stop football.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr Sharples’s year group hoovered up all the football titles.

After leaving school, he joined the Royal Engineers as a driver based in Aldershot.

He married his childhood sweetheart Shirley in 1953, in the same year he was offered a professional contract at Reading Football Club, which he turned down as Shirley did not think it was a long-lasting career. He also turned down his boyhood heroes Burnley for similar reasons.

The Sharples returned to Barnoldswick where he became a HGV driver for Wild’s, and later Rolls-Royce.

He progressed at Rolls-Royce to be the chauffeur for boss at the time Ted Lewis, before returning to HGVs.

More footballing silverware was secured at Rolls-Royce, when the factory team beat a Yorkshire Amateurs side 2-1 at Valley Parade in Bradford to win the West Riding Amateur Cup.

In later life, and particularly after Shirley passed away, Mr Sharples became increasingly involved with Barnoldswick Town FC, painting and decorating, taking on the role as kit man and even being known to go out and buy a ride-on mower or washing machine if he felt the club needed one.

Mr Sharples enjoyed going away with Shirley to the Lake District and Spain, was a season ticket holder at Turf Moor for many years and became a keen Eddie Stobart spotter.

His funeral was on Tuesday at Holy Trinity Church, Barnoldswick, followed by a cremation at Skipton Crematorium.

He leaves behind daughters Lynn and Greta, granddaughters Nicola and Emily and great granddaughters Megan and Faye.