TRIBUTES have been paid to a keen Colne sportsman remembered by family and friends as “one of life’s gentlemen, always smiling”.
Eric Cross (83), pictured, had a huge impact on the lives of many people in Pendle, through his sporting activities, career ventures and volunteer work.
In a tragic set of circumstances the former Trawden Celtic Football Club manager’s funeral was held on the same day as his wife Joyce, who died three years ago, and son Nigel, who died 27 years ago.
He had battled prostrate cancer for 15 years, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and just before Christmas was told he had bowel cancer.
The Burnley FC fan played for football teams, including Laneshaw Bridge, played cricket in Foulridge for 10 years and was part of the Skipton Snooker League.
In his career, Mr Cross worked as a plumber for Co-operative, taught at Burnley College and was a council grants officer and building inspector. He also set up a shop in Lark Street while he was working as a retained firefighter and for Colne Water Board.
When he retired, the former Park High School student became a volunteer for Meals On Wheels, and for St John Ambulance.
Mr Cross, who lived in Haverholt Close, leaves two children, seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and his brother Alan.
His daughter Lesley Morville, of Knightsbridge Avenue, said: “He was a true gentleman, and that is what comes through in the cards we’ve been sent. He was always smiling. He always said ‘it takes nothing to smile’. My dad was charming, with a sense of humour that stayed right until he died.”
Eric’s son Paul, who is returning to his home in Los Angeles over the weekend, added: “He didn’t have a bad bone in his body.”
Eric’s family would thank everybody who has been so supportive, including Nelson Manor Care Home who provided Eric with “brilliant” care in his final days.