A BUSINESSMAN who built up a courier service empire spanning the North-West has died aged 46.
Father-of-four Anthony John Wolstenholme started selling biscuits on a market stall, before setting up Direct Courier Services Ltd, and a string of other successful businesses.
But the former Towneley High School pupil, who grew up in Burnley Wood, collapsed at home and, after several days in a coma, his family took the agonising decision to turn off his life support machine.
He died last Saturday in Airedale Hospital, close to his family home in Salterforth.
Mr Wolstenholme was described as an ambitious business mind who was a devoted family man and a great father to his children Shelby (17), Bethany (11), Bradley (5) and Brandon (2).
His parents, sister, relatives and wife Louise (36) described his death as a tragedy.
“We are all absolutely devastated,” they said.
“All his relatives are in shock at the suddenness of his death at only 46 years old.”
Mr Wolstenholme was brought up in Burnley Wood until the age of 15, before living in the Lanehead, Harle Syke and Hurstwood areas of town.
He went to school in Burnley Wood, and later Towneley High School.
When he left school, Mr Wolstenholme worked at Bookers Cash and Carry for a short time, before setting up his own small business selling biscuits at markets in Todmorden and Sowerby Bridge.
He then bought a window cleaning round and began delivering parcels and post early mornings and in the evening.
From there he rented a small unit, bought another van and took on courier work – and Direct Courier Services Ltd was born.
With his hard work, the business grew up to become one of the largest courier firms in the North-West, employing 60 courier staff.
He later started a successful cafe and card company in Skipton and, in recent years, branched out into developing a portfolio of properties across the region.
But the family man and keep-fit fanatic fell ill and died several days later on Saturday.