Lancashire footballer George Melling dies aged 37 after battle with motor neurone disease
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Paying tribute to George, his wife Nicci described him as a “fantastic father” and the “life and soul of the party.”
She said: “Heaven gained the best angel early hours this morning and we were all by his side right to the very end.
“Everyone is so very proud of the horrendous battle that you tried so hard to fight.
“MND is not the definition of George Melling, it was just the cruel disease that took him away from us.”
“He was a fantastic father ... and I’m so very proud to call him my husband.
“You really will leave a massive hole in everybody’s hearts.”
Longridge Town Football Club also paid tribute to their former captain, stating he will be “forever remembered by all of us.”
“It is with a heartbreaking sadness that the club has learnt of the death of former Captain George Melling,” a spokesman said.
“George was more than a player and Captain for Longridge Town FC. He was one of us, a longtime friend of both Ashey and Kieran, a leader and a winner.
“He will be forever remembered by all of us at Longridge Town, and sorely missed.”
Posting on their Twitter page, Colne FC said: “The club is saddened to learn of the passing of former Red, George Melling following his battle with Motor Neurone Disease. RIP George.”
Clitheroe FC added: “[We] would like to offer sincere condolences to the family of our former player George Melling who has sadly passed away after his long standing battle with Motor Neurone disease.
“Godspeed and RIP.”
He worked with friends and former colleagues to raise awareness of MND and created the social media hashtag #helpbigGfightMND.
A GoFundMe page also raised more than £12,300 to support George and his family, with a percentage going to the MND Association and The Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience.