Death of former Pendle newsagent who had potential to play for the Clarets

David behind the counter at his shop, Heaps of News, which he ran in Brierfield for 21 years.
David behind the counter at his shop, Heaps of News, which he ran in Brierfield for 21 years.
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A well known newsagent, who was famed for his dry wit and 'joke of the day' with his customers, has died at the age of 75 after a battle again Alzheimer's Disease.

David Heap ran his business, Heaps of News, in the centre of Brierfield, with his wife Joan for 21 years until they sold the business in 2004.

David was known and loved by his many customers, many of whom would call in every morning for their papers and also a chat.

Joan said: "They would open the door and ask David for the weather forecast, the football scores and the joke of the day and he was always ready with the answers.

"He had a very dry sense of humour and was never angry.

"We never fell out or argued, it just wasn't in his nature."

Born in Reedley, David's parents were publicans, running pubs in Brierfield and Burnley, including the Turf Hotel which was a regular haunt of Burnley players. A talented sportsman who played cricket for Burnley School Boys, David was also a keen footballer.

Bosses at Burnley spotted his potential and asked his parents if he could be taken on as an apprentice but they refused as they wanted him to play cricket.

As a child David almost died when he fell from a tree and perforated his appendix. Doctors said there was nothing they could do for him but his own GP was determined to help and called on the skills of a retired surgeon in Lancaster who performed a life saving operation on David.

Joan said: "This was before the NHS had come into being and the operation was carried out on Boxing Day."

David missed months of schooling but still passed the 11 plus exam and won a place at Burnley Grammar School where he learned to speak fluent French and some German.

In his early 20s, David and three of his friends, went to Spain for four months to tour the country. They each managed to get themselves jobs out there to fund the adventure which was very unusual for that day and age.

David spent several years at Red Rose Plastics in Burnley where he worked his way up from the shopfloor to become manager.

But he had always wanted to run his own business and after looking at a couple of pubs David set his heart on becoming a newsagent.

The couple, who had been married for 46 years, built up their shop to become one of the most thriving newsagents in the area and David even won an award from East Lancashire Newspapers for his customer skills and the highest number of sales for the Nelson Leader.

Joan said: "David was up at 4-30am every day to do the papers and he also did a lot of deliveries himself to houses and all the industrial estates in the area.

"He was so well known by many people and I have been overwhelmed by the messages and cards from friends and also former customers who remember David."

Joan praised staff at the Willowbank Nursing Home in Burnley, where David died, for their care and devotion to both her husband herself.

She said: "They have been wonderful, I call them angels without wings."

David also leaves a daughter and two grandchildren. His funeral will be held at Burnley Crematorium on Thursday, March 21st at noon.