Family of hugely popular Burnley fan who died while away watching England pay tribute to 'genuine bloke'
The family of a much-loved Burnley fan who travelled the world supporting his beloved Clarets and England have spoken of the shock and heartbreak over his death.
Craig Golding (50), of Lubbock Street, was travelling to watch England play the Netherlands in the Nations Cup in Portugal when he suffered a suspected heart attack and died on June 6th.
His son Ashley described his dad as a "genuine bloke" whose love of football had seen him become an incredibly popular face not just in his hometown but across the globe as well.
"He was just a proper down to earth guy," said Ashley. "He would have done anything for anyone. He loved following Burnley and England and tried to make it to as many games as possible. I think his biggest Burnley highlight would have been the Wembley win and obviously the wins over Blackburn. Seeing Burnley in Europe as well.
"In terms of England, he was there when they beat Germany 5-1 so that would have been up there. He went to the World Cup in Russia as well and the last Euros in France."
The former Ivy Bank High School pupil, who had worked at Rolls Royce as a maintenance engineer, was driving friends from Lisbon to Porto for the England semi-final when halfway through the journey he complained of feeling dizzy.
He moved to the passenger seat but as the group pulled up at their hotel Craig collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital where he later died.
"He had been poorly in the past and he'd had a pacemaker fitted but he'd been doing well," said Ashley. "We're still all a bit in shock to be honest.
"I would like to say a massive thank you to Nicky Mclelland, Tom Morris, Brad Hirst, Willie Exton and Beanie who helped dad and kept us all informed of what was going while we arranged to fly over.
"It's been really nice seeing all the messages about him. He was such a popular person."
Craig's body was flown back to England and the family is awaiting the result of the post-mortem before arranging a date for the funeral.
He leaves behind his children Scott, Ashley and Layla along with grandchildren Lawson and Layla and was much-loved brother and uncle.
A fundraising page to help cover the costs of Craig's funeral has been set up on Facebook by friend Mark O'Dowd.
Anybody wishing to donate can find the details here.
The total raised so far stands at nearly £2,000. The estimated cost of the funeral is just over £3,000 with anything raised above that amount going into a trust fund for his daughter Layla.
Mark said Craig helped out numerous friends and members of the football family over the years and the pair had always stood by the saying: "People should do things in life because they want to and not because they feel they have to."