Obituary: Family pay tribute to well-known Pendle sportsman

Frank Greenwood, 05/11/1932 - 30/06/2018.
Frank Greenwood, 05/11/1932 - 30/06/2018.

A well-known and respected Colne sportsman famous for his exploits on the cricket and football fields of Pendle has died.

Frank Greenwood, a stalwart of Nelson Football Club and of James Nelson's in the Craven & District Cricket League, died on July 30th of this year at the age of 85 in the town of his birth, and is survived by his wife of 62 years, Joan, and the couple's three sons, Peter, David, and Ian.

Born on November 5th in 1932 and having grown up and lived in Pendle all his life, Frank attended West Street School and Colne Grammar School, where his sporting acumen soon became apparent as he forged a glowing reputation as one of the area's best football players.

"He was a good all-round sportsman but football was always his first sporting love and the game at which he excelled," explained Frank's son, Peter Greenwood. "He was also a lifelong Burnley supporter, a season ticket holder for over 30 years and rarely missed a home game over that period."

A junior footballer for Holt House and Colne Legion, Frank's career with Nelson started as an amateur in 1954 and saw him make 238 appearances for the club in the Lancashire Combination over the next 10 years, claiming the Junior Cup and the Combination Cup in that time. Prior to turning pro in 1958, Frank also represented the County FA team on several occasions.

"He was also invited for trials with several Football League clubs during his amateur days, including Birmingham City and Walsall," said Peter. "But [he] reluctantly turned down the opportunity as he had recently embarked on what turned out to be a successful career in banking and did not feel he could take the risk."

Adept with bat and ball in hand as well, Frank's cricket career saw him turn out for both Colne and Nelson as an all-rounder in the Lancashire League, although his most successful time in the game came with as captain of a James Nelson's team which won several Craven & District Cricket League titles and Wynn Cups during his 20-year association with the club.

"He was also a member at both Nelson and Colne for many years, and was a committee member at Nelson for several years," Peter said of his father's post-playing days. "Having played for both clubs and having lived about half his life in each town he always had split loyalties whenever Colne played Nelson!"

Often spotted playing in the local snooker leagues after his football and cricket years were behind him, Frank also became an enthusiastic club golfer following his retirement in the mid-1980s, with Peter commenting: "Although he loved golf he was often frustrated by it as he could never understand why he wasn't better at it than he was!

"Excelling at other sports had always come so naturally to him!"