Tributes to popular former Burnley coalminer and Irish League steward

Touching tributes have been paid to a popular former Burnley club steward and coalminer who has died in hospital.

Michael Sutcliffe
Michael Sutcliffe

Father-of-three Mr Michael Sutcliffe (68) was well known for the 20 years he spent as the steward of the former Irish League Club in Richard Street where he was a popular figure.

Described by his daughter Faye Sutcliffe as a legend "with a big shiny tash and a big shiny head", Mr Sutcliffe had previously worked at Hpaton Valley Colliery and when that closed he moved to Wales where he worked at the Point of Ayr pit.

Indeed, he became a passionate supporter of the coalmining community during the 1980s when many pits were closed by the government.

Faye said: "Dad was an ardent supporter of the coalminers whose communities were decimated by the Margaret Thatcher government. He travelled all over the country and Europe raising funds.

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"In fact, dad continued to be a great fund-raiser in his next job when the pits closed. He started at Dickie Pinks in Tunnel Street before a long association with the Irish League Club where he raised lots of money for various good causes including for guide dogs, the blind, deaf and poorly children.

"Everyone described him as a 'legend' and he had numerous guide dogs named after him! He was also a keen snooker fan and went to lots of tournaments at Mullards, and supported the Clarets."

Father to Greg, Faye and Gary, Mr Sutcliffe leaves his devoted wife of 48 years, Susan, as well as seven grandchildren who he doted on.

Faye added: "After the pits, dad found his other great passion of working in the local clubs, which really suited his personality. He made lots of good friends, but unfortunately had to retire 10 years due to ill health.

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"He died in hospital having been poorly since June. He will be missed by many."

Mr Sutcliffe's funeral takes place tomorrow (Tuesday) with a service at St Augustine's RC Church, Lowerhouse Lane, at 10am followed by committal at Burnley Cemetery at 10-40am. A wake will then be held at Ighten Leigh Social Club.