Death of Padiham 'sporting legend' and Clarets fan

A well known Padiham man, who was considered to be a sporting legend, has died at the age of 87.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 3:45 pm
Fred Whalley, president of Padiham Football Club, has died at the age of 87

Passionate about grass roots and non league football, Fred Whalley was also a devoted Clarets fan after his father took him to his first match at Turf Moor in the 1940s.

A talented mathematician Fred went to work at the former Padiham Building Society after studying at the town's technical college. Starting as a cashier he rose to the post of manager when the Bradford and Bingley Building Society took over the business and he was eventually appointed as area manager.

A man who 'lived and breathed' sport, particularly football, Fred also loved playing cricket and table tennis and he had a keen competitive streak.

Playing as a goalie in local league football Fred hung up his boots in the 60s and founded his own team, with several former school mates.

Padiham St John's was a great success and Fred even formed a team for young players to help keep children off the streets and out of trouble.

He led his team to victory in the 1971/72 season in an unprecedented League and Cup double victory with a third triumph in the one off Captain Gray Shield final.

In 1977 Fred became chairman of Padiham Football Club, taking several of his team from St John's with him to play in the Lancashire Combination league. And it was quite fitting that, as a young boy, Fred had helped to shift rubble and metal from the site to transform it in to the Arbories memorial sports ground that it is to this day.

Fred was also a former chairman and vice chairman of the Burnley and District Football League. He also held the post of treasurer and secretary. At the time of his death he was the president of Padiham Football Club.

Married to his second wife Doreen for 40 years, Fred's first wife Margaret died in 1980 at the age of just 43.

A devoted family man, Fred leaves his son Stewart, daughter Carol and step son Craig. He also leaves four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Fred's funeral was held last Thursday and donations are being accepted in his memory for Pendleside Hospice and Padiham FC.