FAMILY and friends gathered to say goodbye to a remarkable Burnley Football Club fan and servant who died in the early hours of his 95th birthday last week.
Mr James Marriott, known as Jim, died in his sleep on February 14th at Brierfield House Care Home, where he had been living for a year.
He had been fighting chest infections and was discharged from the Royal Blackburn Hospital days before he died.
Mr Marriott, who lived in Hallwood Close, Reedley, for more than 40 years, was a lifelong Burnley FC fan, and a short tribute appeared on screen at last week’s Barnsley match on the day he died.
Daughter Jane Clare said: “It was very emotional to go to the match, but as a family we thought it was something dad would have loved to do.
“He had been ill for some time and was no doubt determined to reach his 95th birthday. As a family we are all very proud of him. He had always been a fighter, from the day he was born.”
He was born at Burnley Victoria Hospital in 1917, two months premature. He was delivered by Dr MacGregor Sinclair and was given the middle name MacGregor in tribute to the doctor. His mother kept him alive by feeding him through a fountain pen tube, and keeping him warm in a drawer by the fire.
Mr Marriott attended Coal Clough Lane Infants’ School, but moved to Sheffield in his teens. After serving in the RAF, he worked in the brewery trade for years. While working and living in the North East, he scouted for football talent for his great friend, Burnley FC manager Harry Potts. In 1968, he moved back to Burnley to work on initial plans for the football club’s social club.
His daughter Sue Hayter said: “He never lost his love for Burnley FC and would travel all over the country to see them.”
After working for the club, he was a self-employed driving instructor, reflecting his love of cars and driving. He once braved snowstorms and mountainside cliffs driving the famous Monte Carlo Rally in the early 60s.
He also worked for Mullard’s in Simonstone, from where he retired for the first time. He then worked part-time at the NatWest bank in Barrowford, retiring for a second time at the age of 70.
In his retirement he continued watching his favourite team at Turf Moor and for several years was the matchday tannoy announcer.
After retiring, he took courses and passed exams in German at Burnley College.
At the age of 84 he learned computing and was often to be found tapping away on his laptop.
Mr Marriott had lived on his own for 10 years after the death of his wife Sally, who once worked as a debt recovery manager at Great Universal Stores in Burnley.
He leaves sons Bob and David, daughters Sue and Jane, five grand-children and four great-grandchildren.