Burnley businessman dies after cancer fight

Russel James Eastwood.
Russel James Eastwood.

A Burnley businessman who set up international business Canopies UK has died at the age of 70.

Russell James Eastwood died peacefully at home on November 19th surrounded by his family after a long battle with prostate cancer.

My dad was highly regarded by so many people, and the number of lovely messages we have received in the last week is testament to that

Jason Eastwood

He battled the disease for seven years despite originally being given between six months and two years live in November 2008.

He leaves lifelong partner Ann, his four sons Ashley, Jason, Matthew and Jonathon, and grandchildren Emily, Millie, Ben, Henry, Harry, Oscar and Alex.

He was born in Plymouth on February 1st 1945 as his father was fighting in the war with the Navy, but soon re-located to east Lancashire which is where his father was originally from.

He was the first child of parents Freda and Harry, but was soon joined by siblings Terry, Valerie, Angela, and Gill.

He originally lived on Townhouse Road in Nelson and attended Colne Grammar School, which is where he met his future wife Ann at the age of 13 who he married on September 10th 1966, and after briefly living in Darwen and Rishton, he set up a family home in Burnley on Rosehill Avenue with his wife and children.

Although he split from his wife in 2001 they remained inseparable, and spent as much time together as they did before the divorce.

His entrepreneurial spirit was evident even in his teenage years and he first ventured into business by keeping and looking after chickens.

He left school at 15 and worked in a couple of local mills, including an assistant managers role, but made the choice to leave the security of his job to become a double-glazing salesman, and soon realised he was good at selling so decided to start his own business.

After briefly starting up and owning a DIY firm called Portland Porches which was bought out, he started Canopies UK in 1990.

He was a man who was dedicated to his family and his work, and soon managed to turn the business into a thriving local employer and international business, before a management buyout in 2011.

Despite being a hard worker he did allow himself some other passions throughout his life, his loves for Burnley FC and boxing being a couple.

Son Jason said: “My dad was highly regarded by so many people, and the number of lovely messages we have received in the last week is testament to that.

“He was ambitious, tenacious and hardworking, and ultimately only one word can describe the public face of my day — winner.

“Privately you couldn’t wish to meet a more generous, giving, and selfless person who cared passionately about his family. He was a wonderful man who will be missed by many people.”

The funeral was held at Burnley Crematorium on Friday November 27th.