Friends of former Burnley dad who moved to Thailand help to honour his last wish to live out his final days in the UK
The family of a former pub landlord have thanked friends and Pendleside Hospice for helping to make his final wish, to be able to live out his last days in England, come true.
Andrew Pickles died in the hospice after being flown from his home in Pattaya Thailand, where he had lived for the past 12 years running his own bar, the Crystal Club.
Diagnosed with terminal cancer, Andrew, who was 56, wanted to come back to the UK to be with his family.
His younger brother, Matthew, arranged for Andrew to be flown home accompanied by a medical specialist and Pendleside Hospice agreed he could be admitted there to be cared for.
Matthew said: "We spoke most days on the phone and he only asked one thing when he became terminally ill.. could I bring him home to be with his dad and his friends and, with help from my friends, I did.
"Our family would like to thank everyone who helped and supported us because without them I don't think we could have done it."
Affectionately known as 'Picky' Andrew was born in Blackpool but moved to live in Cliviger in 1970 with his family when his father, Derek, was appointed headteacher at the village school, St John the Divine.
Lively and popular, 'Picky' would make lifelong friends at the school and in the village.
He attended the former Walton High School in Nelson, and in his teens, showed promise as a footballer when he had trials for Stoke City.
His first job was 'bottling up' at the former Holme Country Club in Cliviger and he also worked at the former Lucas factory and sold double glazing before travelling to Canada to see his uncle.
Andrew went on to live and work around Canada and America, travelling on a Greyhound bus. He also visited Australia but returned home to become the youngest ever landlord of the now demolished Gordon Lennox pub in Cliviger.
In 2003 Andrew visited Thailand and fell in love with the lifestyle and culture. He went on to manage numerous clubs in Pattaya and met his wife, Noie, who cared for him while he battled cancer.
And while he loved the far East he was staunchly patriotic and a portrait of the Queen hung in his home which was adorned with Union Jack cushions. He also owned two British bulldogs.
Visitors were always instructed to take Andrew English food with them including tins of spam and corned beef and bacon. And he always made a point of taking guests to see the bridge that featured in the film Bridge Over The River Kwai.
Matthew added: "Andrew was a popular person with many, many friends around the world.
"He lived the dream and did more than most will ever do in a lifetime."
Andrew's funeral was held at St John the Divine on Saturday and his coffin was led into church accompanied by Alfie Boe singing 'Bring Him Home' which could not have been more apt. He was laid to rest in the graveyard, next to his dad, who died in 2003.
Donations are being accepted for the hospice in Andrew's memory.
Andrew also leaves his mum, Ruth, children Chloe and James, sister in law Jeab, niece Emily and his former partner, Joanne.