Death of leading businessman and talented sportsman

A well known champion of grassroots sport has died at the age of 88.

Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, 4:24 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:06 am
Geoff Nuttall, a leading businessman and sportsman, has died at the age of 88

Geoff Nuttall signed to play for Burnley at the age of 18 initially as Captain of the Burnley Colts team where his leadership and sportsmanship was credited for the team's success.

This made him an automatic choice for the A team, playing alongside the legendary Jimmy Adamson.

Injuries cut short any hopes of a long term career with the Clarets but Geoff continued to be a lifelong supporter and season ticket holder, regularly travelling to the home matches with son Bob on the Barrowford Clarets Bus.

Nelson born Geoff was a former pupil of Marsden County Primary School and Nelson Secondary Technical before he was awarded a scholarship to Burnley Technical College.

This move persuaded him to take up an engineering apprenticeship in 1944 at Huytons Engineering in Victoria St. Nelson and he went on to found Progress Engineering Co (Nelson) Ltd.

In 1950 Geoff was called up for his National Service in the Royal Engineers. After the first three months training in the UK, he progressed onto a 21 month khaki-clad stint, where as a Lance Corporal based at a number of stations out in Egypt, he was tasked with ensuring that the army equipment and vehicles continued to operate in the hot, harsh conditions around the Suez Canal.

Shortly after his return to the UK, Geoffrey met his wife-to-be Joan at the local church in Railway Street Nelson and in 2014 the couple celebrated their Diamond Wedding.

Once home Geoff rejoined the local footballing scene again, having spells with Jimmy Nelson's in the local football league and Nelson,both alongside and under Joe Fagan, the ex Liverpool player and Manager, in the Lancashire combination.

This led to Geoff being asked to play for Accrington Stanley in a league match at Manchester and his performance was so impressive it led to a formalm invitation for him to sign a permanent contract with the club which he declined for personal reasons.

After a break from the football, Geoff returned to playing amateur league football with Barrowford United at the age of 40 as his sons, Les and Bob reached their teenage years and an age where they and a number of their school friends could form a team and start to play in the local amateur leagues.

Five years later, Geoff officially retired from playing, taking up the position of coach and manager at the club.

Geoff was equally committed to cricket, particularly the local Sunday School League where he played for Railway Street and Central Methodists for almost 40 years.

In the early years his prowess as a fast and accurate bowler was on a par with his footballing talents.

Geoff's reputation as a selfless volunteer and patron through his business for local sport who was also known for ‘"getting things done" led to him being invited to become a committee member on the local Sports Council at a time that saw the introduction of the national ‘Sport For All’ motto and the initiation of moves to create ‘cycle ways’ throughout the borough.

He was also a leading light in the discussions and decisions on building the local swimming pools at West Craven, Wavelengths and Colne Sports Centre.

It was Geoff's dedication and years of selfless hard work that led to him being awarded the Pendle Leisure Trust and Nelson Leader Sports Lifetime Achievement Award.

During the past twenty years, Geoff and Joan were keen followers of the Pendle Forest Hockey Teams, formerly Nelson Ladies Hockey Team, both at home and away. Their two daughters, Deb and Jan, have been with the club for many years, but up to seven of the family members can represent the club at a weekend.

Geoff also leaves nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held on tomorrow at Burnley Crematorium at 3pm.

Donations are being accepted for Pendleside Hospice or Parkinson's Disease c/o Helliwell's Funeral Service, Burnley Road, Colne, or by ringing 01282 870898.