The family of a Pendleside Hospice patient who died just six hours after spending time with Joey Barton has praised the Clarets midfielder for chatting to the 72-year-old Burnley fan.
Joey had spent 20 minutes speaking to former van driver Harry Johnson, of Colne, and his family, and sadly passed away of pancreatic cancer later that day.
After Harry passed away, his wife Jackie said: “Joey’s words gave Harry and all of his close family a massive boost in his final hours," with his granddaughter Chloe adding: “My dad wanted to say a massive thank you to Joey Barton, who had a laugh and a chat with him. Joey is a top man.”
Barton and fellow Claret Jon Flanagan’s visit to the hospice was arranged by Burnley FC In the Community, who are working in partnership with the hospice, with the Turf Moor favourites chatting to staff and day-care patients, signing autographs, and having pictures taken with them.
The pair were also endorsing a joint community and fundraising day set to take place at Turf Moor when Burnley play Manchester United this Sunday, when collections and stalls from both charities will be at the ground before and during the game, which kicks off at 2.15pm.
During the visit to the hospice, Barton revealed that his 47-year-old uncle has cancer, saying: “I think hospices do some fantastic work. My grandfather was in a hospice before he died and now my uncle is receiving treatment.
"I have found everyone at Pendleside to be so positive and it’s been a very pleasant and moving experience meeting the patients,” he added.
Pendleside’s Chief Executive, Helen McVey, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Joey and Jon. They both brought a lot of smiles and happiness into the hospice.
"This was the first of a number of events that will see us and Burnley FC in the Community come together and raise vital funds to support the work of both charities,” she continued.
Midfielder Barton, who will be pitting his skills against United’s world record-signing Paul Pogba on Sunday, added: “I would encourage all fans to bring a pound to donate to two fantastic charities.”
Barton and Flanagan also gave a good luck message to another sporting hero, Barry Newton (68) of Brierfield, who has lung and bowel cancer and who is running the Great Northern Family Run in July in aid of the hospice.
Barton told him: “I give you all of my best wishes and hope you achieve what you are hoping to achieve.”