Former Burnley FC footballer and musician dies - Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott tribute

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Clarets footballer, popular singer and enterprising businessman who died of pneumonia.

Glyn Thomas (68), who lived in Green Bank, Barnoldswick, had been suffering with ill-health for two years.

Among those paying tribute to Mr Thomas was Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott, who played with him in the 1960s.

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His family remembered him as a man who “fitted more into his one lifetime than many would in three”.

Born in Burnley and a pupil at Lanehead Primary School, Mr Thomas showed sporting promise at an early age. He excelled in football and cricket, having the highest batting average for schoolboys in Lancashire at more than 100 and being a prolific goal scorer on the football pitch.

Mr Thomas’s brother, Hayden, said: “He was a fantastic footballer. Of course any brother would say that but it was in the local papers at the time. When he played for Pendle Forest, he would score six goals in one match, nine goals in another.”

Mr Thomas was then a student at Burnley Grammar School, but left before taking O-levels when he was asked to become a member of the grounds team at Burnley Football Club.

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At 17, he signed as a professional and played his way into the reserves team.

He was a member of the squad that won the 1959/60 Division One title, and was also selected to attend England Youth training camps where he played alongside the likes of Terry Venables, Billy Wright and Sir Tom Finney.

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Indulging his passion for music, Mr Thomas eventually left Burnley to embark on his second career as a singer, though he continued playing amateur football until injury stopped him.

As a front man he was best known locally by his stage name Eddie G Marten, the singer in his eponymous band Eddie G Marten and the Falcons, and later the Sabres.

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The Sabres hold a rather prestigious claim to fame in history as the band supported the Beatles when they played the Imperial Ballroom, Nelson, in May 1963.

Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott played in the Falcons and remembers his time with Mr Thomas fondly. He said: “I first met Glyn in a small hall at Lane Head, Burnley, where he was rehearsing with the Meteors.

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“Their manager, Alan Green, had asked me to help the drummer who was having problems playing Hallelujah I Love Her So.

“It was just Glyn singing Love Me Tender and the Falcons’s pianist, John Sumner playing the Imperial Ballroom grand piano. It was magic.”

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After several years impressing local audiences, Mr Thomas had another career change in the late 1960s when he went to work at the Coloroll factory in Nelson.

He quickly worked his way up from works chauffeur through the buying department to works director by the time he left in 1983.

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He then set up his own business in Colne, Phoenix Wall Coverings, which was a successful enterprise before he sold it to retire in 1988.

Throughout his life, Mr Thomas moved between Burnley, Nelson, Barrowford and Higherford, before eventually settling in Barnoldswick.

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Brother Hayden said: “He really lived life to the full, cramming so much in. He burnt the candle at both ends and had a very varied life.”

Mr Thomas leaves wife Caroline, son Paul and daughter Lorna, granddaughters Charlotte and Danielle, brother Hayden and sister Pamela.

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His funeral was held at Ghyll Church, Barnoldswick.