Tributes for Burnley man (32) who had been tipped for a career as a professional footballer

The mother of a Burnley man, who has died at the age of 32, has paid tribute to her son who had been tipped for a career as a professional footballer before he was injured on the pitch.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 3:20 pm
James (left) at the age of 10 with his brother Rob who was five at the time.

A talented footballer, James Clarke had played for Burnley Youth Team and Fulledge Colts, before he suffered a cruciate ligament injury in his early 20s.

James' mum Jackie said: "James had always loved his football and he was at one time a season ticket holder for Burnley."

James,' whose coach at the Colts had described him as a 'midfield dynamo,' continued to play for other teams including Burnley Wood Casuals.

Affectionately known as 'Jimbob,' James went to Burnley Wood Primary and the former Towneley High schools before going on to study Sports Science at Burnley College.

James worked as a scaffolder and labourer and he had a wide circle of friends and was close to his family.

Describing her son as 'clever and outgoing' Jackie said James enjoyed playing on his Xbox and taking care of his dog Patch, an Alaskan Malamute Akita cross.

A gofundme page set up by Dom Murtagh, the best friend of James' brother Rob, has already raised £1,305 towards its £2,500 target and all the money will be donated to the charity Lancashire Mind.

Another friend, Daz Crawford, is running a Lottery bonus ball card this weekend for family and friends and the cash raised will be put towards a memorial bench in James' honour overlooking the football pitches at Towneley.

Fulledge Colts are also planning a charity match in April between coaches and the team of 2000, when James played there.

Jackie said: "We would like to thank everyone for their kind words, messages, cards and for all the charity donations in James' name."

James' went missing on Saturday, January 4th, near to his home in the Hollingreave Road area, and his body was found five days later in Towneley Park.

There are no suspicious circumstances and a file is being prepared for HM Coroner.

James also leaves his dad Melvin, stepfather Bob and stepmother Jackie. His funeral will be held on Monday, January 27th at 12-15pm at Burnley Crematorium followed by a wake at the Royal Butterfly in Hufling Lane.