Tributes paid after gym boss Mick dies aged just 50

Happier times: Mick Coupe and his fiancee Sam Metcalfe
Happier times: Mick Coupe and his fiancee Sam Metcalfe
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One of Burnley’s best-known characters, who loved nothing more than being with family, has died aged 50.

Dad-of-two Mick Coupe was found dead at his home in Fairways Drive, Burnley, on Thursday, September 25th. Owner of the Fitness Factory gym, he was one of Burnley’s most familiar faces having also worked as a doorman at many of the town’s clubs.

Michael Coupe

Michael Coupe

His fiancée, Sam Metcalfe, said he was quite simply the love of her life; a lovely man who would have a done anything for anyone especially his children Ashley (21) and Ben (eight).

“He was such a lovable man. He was so nice and so generous, he really would have done anything for anybody. It was just the way he was.

“Everybody is just still in shock. We can’t quite believe it. He had been fine Wednesday evening. I’d gone up to bed and I just presumed he’d fallen asleep on the couch as he did sometimes. It was just completely unexpected. We have know idea was it was.”

The family was still coming to terms with the death of Mick’s mum, Elsie, who died in California earlier in September.

Mick had flown out to be with her when she died and had been in the process of sorting out her funeral, which took place at the Inghamite Church in Fence on Monday.

A former Edge End High School pupil, Mick worked at a number of car dealerships throughout the North-West including Seed Ford in Nelson and Skippers Ford in Burnley as well as stints out in California. He married Lindsay in the early 90s and the couple had daughter Ashley

In 1999 he met Sam, who he has son Ben with, and the pair were engaged to be married - following a proposal involving a chicken and a fridge.

“He asked me one evening where the chicken was and I said ‘don’t be stupid it’s in the fridge’. He said, ‘go on, just show me’. So I opened the fridge and on top of the chicken was a box with a ring in it. It was just typical of him.

“He was so kind and generous and annoying. He’d come in every night and be poking all of us in the ribs. He was so bright, bubbly and funny. He loved being with his family so much.”

A man of many hobbies, Mick loved his cars and motorbikes. He had also studied law and was even in the middle of writing a book about his time working as a doorman.

A serious motorcycle accident in 2003 saw him stop working as a car salesman and begin selling fitness supplements from home. It led to him realising one of his biggest dreams when he opened Fitness Factory, Burnham Gate, in 2007. A keen bodybuilder himself, he, along with Intershape Gym owner Margaret Duckworth, revived classic bodybuilding contest Mr Pennine in April when it was staged at Pendle Hippodrome in Colne.

Despite his bald head and bodybuilder persona, his kind and generous nature made him one of the friendliest and most approachable men you would ever be likely to meet.

“He was just our big, cuddly bear,” said Ashley, who said she couldn’t even go into a sandwich shop in Padiham without somebody offering their condolences.

Never on time, Sam said she had asked the funeral directors if it would be possible to make him late for that as well.

“He was always late. He was always so relaxed, probably too relaxed,” she smiled.

His funeral takes place on Monday at the Inghamite Church in Fence at noon. There will be a red and black theme in keeping with the Fitness Factory’s colours, which will be closed as a mark of respect on the day but will be carrying on business as usual from Tuesday. A wake will be held at Rosegrove Unity following the service.

Mick also leaves behind step daughter Jodie, dad Ronald, step-dad Adrian, step-mum Eriko, sisters Anita and Jennifer and brother Chris.