Hundreds expected at funeral of popular Clarets fan, devoted dad and grandfather Paul

Paul Simm with his wife Mel and their children Matt and Becky.
Paul Simm with his wife Mel and their children Matt and Becky.

Hundreds of people are expected to pay their last respects to a well known dad and grandfather who has died after a brave and dignified battle against cancer.

Paul Simm, who was 56, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October.

He died in the Pendleside Hospice last week surrounded by all his family including his wife Mel, daughter Becky, son Matt, brothers Stephen and Peter, sister Alison, his mother Joan, son In Law Nick, daughter In Law Melissa and sister in law Clare.

Paying tribute to his dad, Matt said: "After dad was diagnosed with cancer he underwent numerous cycles of chemotherapy which at first showed a positive response.

"He was never one to moan or grumble about his illness, he just took it in his stride and said 'whatever will be, will be.' "

Matt brought his wedding forward to February this year so that is dad would be well enough to attend.

And the whole family enjoyed some memorable holidays together including trips to Spain and a New Year celebration at Center Parcs. Florida was their favourite destination as a family and they had visited it many times in the past.

Matt said: "Dad wanted to make as many memories as possible in his final time and even though we knew it was a year we wouldn't finish together, we celebrated it as a family like we would any other because that's how he wanted it."

In July Paul and Mel went on a cruise around the Norwegian fjords to celebrate their 32nd wedding anniversary. This was a destination that had been at the top of Paul's 'bucket list.'

The couple had enjoyed many cruises during the 35 years they were together and had visited the Caribbean, Bali, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, UAE, Iceland, Norway, Vegas, San Francisco, and the Mediterranean.

Affectionately known as Zac, after he played a character by that name in a school play while a student at the former St Joseph's Primary School in Nelson, Paul had lived all his life in Brierfield

A former student at Fisher More High School in Colne Paul doted on his 16-month-old grandaughter Olivia and was granted his dearest wish to see her take her first steps.

A season ticket holder for the Clarets, Paul loved football and played for Brierfield Celtic and Colne Legion amongst others.

The highlight of his playing career was playing on Turf Moor in the hospital cup final for Colne Legion versus Vale Weavers in which Legion won 1-0.

Paul worked at Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick from the age of 16 and was due to retire at the end of October.

In a bid to raise awareness of the disease and also research into pancreatic cancer, Matt organised a charity football match in March and hundreds of friends, family and well wishers turned out to show their support for Paul.

Matt, who lives in Harle Syke, Burnley, set himself a target of raising £500 and managed to bring in the staggering amount of £12,000 after rival clubs Burnley and Blackburn Rovers, and also Accrington Stanley, banded together to donate signed shirts and several other items for a fund raising auction.

Matt has thanked staff at Pendleside Hospice their care of his father who spent the last 12 days of his life there.

He said: "I would like to thank the hospice for their unbelievable care and support.

"Not just to my dad but to us as a family."

Paul's funeral will be held this Friday at 11-30am at Sacred Heart Church in Colne followed by cremation at Burnley. The wake will be held in the James Hargreaves suite at Turf Moor.

Donations for Pendleside Hospice are being accepted in Paul's honour and can be made either at the funeral or through the funeral directors, Alderson and Horan in Rossendale Road, Burnley.