Popular furniture shop owner and a relative of Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton, Jim Heaton, has died aged 85.
Father-of-two Jim owned Heaton’s Furnishing Warehouse in Nelson and ran it for more than 50 years, at one stage having shops in Burnley and Colne as well.
I have had the most amazing life. I have achieved more than I could have dreamt of and I have an amazing family I am proud ofJim Heaton
As well as his business, Clarets fan Jim was sports-mad playing football for Nelson, he was captain and president of Nelson Golf Club, he set up Brierfield Tennis Club as well as being in Nelson Rotary Club for more than 30 years.
His daughter Karen Stinchon said: “Around three years ago my dad said:‘I want you to promise me that you won’t be sad when I die because I have had the most amazing life. I have achieved more than I could have dreamt of and I have an amazing family I am proud of.’”
Grandfather Jim, married to Susan for 62 years, borrowed £30 off his mum and started his own business at 17, polishing toilet seats and coffins.
He had to leave it when he went into the RAF and opened another business on his return, French polishing and selling furniture which was to become Heaton’s Furnishing Warehouse, on Scotland Road, before he retired in 2004.
As well as running his business, Jim, who also has a son Peter, loved his sport.
His first love was cricket but he played football for Worsthorne at 16 and also played at semi-professional level for Nelson in the Lancashire Combination.
“His claim to fame was scoring a goal in the FA Cup although Nelson lost,” said Karen.
Jim began supporting Burnley Football Club when he was six, watched them twice at Wembley and travelled to watch them at Port Vale this season. Burnley keeper Tom Heaton is Jim’s great nephew.
“He was so thrilled and proud to follow Tom’s career and absolutely delighted when he was signed up as goalkeeper for the Clarets,” said Karen.
Jim was also a good golfer, joining Nelson Golf Club in 1960, he played off eight at his best and won the Nelson Trophy in 1978. He was made the captain in 1971 and then president in 1990.
“He has enjoyed many golfing holidays, day trips and evenings out with his golfing pals,” continued Karen.
In 1998 he achieved his lifelong ambition which was to represent England as a rotarian. He served on the council for 20 years, often running a disco after a day’s work on a Saturday night.
Jim also set up Brierfield Tennis Club in 1955, competed in the Lancashire Tennis League and played tennis well into his 70s.
He also played bridge every Thursday and snooker a number of times a week.
As well as being busy with sport, Jim was in Nelson Rotary Club for more than 30 years and was made president in 1990.
He helped to raise thousands of pounds for local charities and for Pendleside Hospice and distributed food to those in need at Christmas time.
“My dad and mum had an amazing life and cruised and went on holidays all over the world,” added Karen.
“He was always cheerful, enthusiastic, honest, genuine, generous and a lovely man.
“His laugh could be heard from the next room and he loved to tell a story.”
The funeral is due to take place on Thursday afternoon at Burnley Crematorium.