A DEVASTATED family has paid tribute to a well-known Colne man who died suddenly aged just 44.
Tragically, Craig Gouldsbrough had been due to marry his long-term partner next April, on what would have been his 45th birthday.
Described by his family as “fit and healthy”, Craig collapsed and died last Tuesday, suffering a brain haemorrhage.
His family are still in shock and say his death will leave a huge hole in their lives.
Craig was a familiar face to many, having played for pub sports teams in Colne and Foulridge, and hundreds are expected to attend his funeral.
His partner, Beverley, paid tribute to him: “Craig was the sort of person who got on with anyone - he was very warm, caring and friendly. He was well known around and about for his funny dancing and would bring a smile to the face of anyone who needed cheering up.
“We are all completely shocked by what has happened, Craig wasn’t ill or anything and was relatively fit.”
Born and brought up in Burnley, Craig attended Mansfield High School before moving to Nelson where he gained work as a caterer at what was Coloroll Wallpapers. He had three children, Kimberley, Martyn and Amber-Lea, before meeting his partner of 20 years, Beverley, at the Jolly Hatters pub in Colne.
The couple brought their two families together under one roof, with Craig welcoming Beverley’s children Charlene and Angela into the fold. They later had a daughter together, Kirsty, who has just turned 10.
Craig worked for a short time at Pickles Bakery in Earby and NR Engineering in Colne before becoming a steward at Foulridge Social Club, a job he loved. He remained at the club for seven years and was extremely popular, becoming an active member of the bowls and snooker teams.
Beverley said: “Everyone knew him at the club and the Legion in Colne where he played snooker and darts. He had lots of friends and was a very sociable person and well established in the town.”
Members of Foulridge Social Club are said to have been “devastated” by news of Craig’s death.
The secretary of the club, Howard Watson, said: “It’s such sad news - Craig was a lovely lad.”
When he wasn’t working, Craig, of Intake Crescent, enjoyed spending time with his large family and was very close to his mother Myra and his 11 grandchildren.
Beverley said: “He loved his little army of grandkids and enjoyed playing with them. They all adored him and will miss him very much, we all will.”
Craig’s funeral will be held today at 1-40 p.m. at Burnley Crematorium and afterwards at Foulridge Social Club. Everyone who knew him is welcome to attend.
Instead of flowers, mourners are asked to make donations to Reedley Cottages Childcare Service in Burnley, where Craig was an active fund-raiser.