Lifelong Burnley fan who was a popular sporting figure dies aged 64

Tony BannisterTony Bannister
Tony Bannister
A darter renowned as among the very best of his generation died on Thursday.

Tony Bannister had an unrivalled reputation on the local darts scene.

But he was also very well-known for his long-standing connections with local football and a life-long affinity with the Clarets.

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Born in William Street, Colne, to parents George and Eva, “Banny” as he was known to everyone attended West Street Primary School, Colne, and Edge End Second School, Nelson, before starting work as a tool-fitter.

Throughout his school days he earned an enviable reputation as a footballer, but when his trial with his beloved Clarets was unsuccessful he devoted his time to following Burnley across the country.

While spending his Saturdays travelling to virtually every ground in the country, his Sundays were spent playing for the Morris Dancers football team in the 1970s before moving on to the highly successful Commercial team which won the Pendle Charity Football League many times, claimed many cup wins and enjoys success in the Lancashire Sunday Trophy.

For a spell he was manager of Colne United and led them to their first ever Craven Football League Premier Division title.

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He gave that up to return to supporting the Clarets and for many years he was a Turf Moor season ticket holder and also one of the leading members of Colne Clarets.

Tony, who was 64 when he died on Thursday, continued his involvement with Sunday football and steered Commercial Old Boys to success on the national stage in veterans’ competitions.

His love of darts also started when he was a teenager and for years he was among the most successful players in the Colne Darts League as he, and team mates from the Hole in the Wall team, swept all before them.

He played across the region and also enjoyed success in the News of the World national tournament as well as the prestigious local Golden Arrow competition.

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After his spell as a tool-fitter, Tony’s work took him to Pressed Felts in Colne and then Donaghadee Carpets in Nelson and he remained a salesman up until the time of his death.

Married to Lynne, Tony is survived by sons Daniel and David, step-son Mark, grandson, Callum, brother Steven and sister Elaine.

His funeral service will be held on Friday at Colne Parish Church.

The service will start at 1-30pm and everyone who knew him is invited to attend.

That service will be followed by a private committal at Skipton Crematorium.

It is family flowers only, but donations can be made to the Critical Care Unit at Airedale General Hospital.

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