THE tragic news that community man and former Barrowford Parish Council chairman Mick Simpson has died is causing heartache across Pendle, with his family and friends struggling to come to terms with his sudden death.
Coun. Simpson (61) was involved in a road accident on the A90 between Perth and Dundee on the evening of Saturday, January 15th. His Volvo C70 convertible came off the dual carriageway and down a 10ft embankment, overturning before smashing into a wall.
It is unclear how the accident happened or how long Mr Simpson had been lying, suspended upside down in freezing temperatures before he was seen, but when police arrived at the scene just before 1 a.m. on Sunday, Mr Simpson was still alive.
On Thursday, with his wife Julie, and their children Rachel (25), Danielle (24), Nicola (22), Garred (19), Charlotte (17) and grandson Jaxon by his bedside at hospital in Dundee, they made the decision to turn off his life support machine.
The family was also supported by Mr Simpson’s sons-in-law, Mark, Adam and Jamie.
From the crash, he incurred two brain haemorrhages, three breaks in the neck, a broken collar bone, kidney damage and was suffering from hypothermia. Although he gained consciousness on arrival at hospital, he had to be medically induced into a coma. The family have since paid tribute to their “talented, independent and outspoken” husband and father who remained “strong” and “fighting” throughout.
Mrs Simpson said: “We are going to miss him so much. He was a loving father to his children and a rock to me. He died peacefully with all his family around him under the very best of care. We were with him during his last days and think he could hear us talking to him.”
The new grandad to six-week-old baby Jaxon, his eldest daughter’s first child, had been on his way to see his brother Patrick in Montrose, where he was planning to spend a few days in a spontaneous visit.
Eleven years ago Mr Simpson suffered a heart attack and had to give up his job as transport and distribution manager at Thorsmans in Blackburn. Previously he was a wagon driver.
Mr Simpson sat on Barrowford Council for more than 15 years and was chairman for five, as well as sitting on Barrowford Bonfire Committee.
Following the heart attack he became involved with organisations in his home village of Barrowford and across Pendle. He lent his name to Pendle Partnership, Pendle Community Network, the Friends of Victoria Park and was on the board of governors at St Thomas’s Primary School and Barrowford School.
Since the news broke, the family home in Carr Hall Road where they have lived for 21 years, has been swarmed with sympathy cards and letters.
“He had some very caring friends. It is lovely so many people have been in contact,” the family said.
Mr Simpson grew up in Nelson and attended Percy Street School and Walverden Secondary Modern School before undertaking a degree in pure maths and engineering. As a young man he would race stock cars in Nelson and this would be the start of his love for cars, adding to this rugby and Formula 1.
An investigation into Mr Simpson’s death has been launched by the police but the family has been told there is the possibility they will never know what caused the accident.
His funeral is being held at Higherford Methodist Church next Friday. The service will be led by the Rev. Andrew Turner at 1-30 p.m. His cortege will be driven by two black horses that will set off from his home at 1 p.m. to mark his final journey through the village. The family has asked for family flowers only but any donations to Help for Heroes, as Mick’s only son Garred is serving in the Army. His wake will be held at the David Street Working Man’s Club, Barrowford, after the burial.