TRIBUTES were paid at a cup final ‘to acknowledge that the football family has lost two great people’.
A collection at Monday night’s Bolton Hospital Cup final raised £600 for the families of James Dean and Jordan Banks.
James, from Oswaldtwistle, was well-known in amateur football circles having enjoyed a fruitful career in the region, at clubs including Chorley and Bamber Bridge.
He went missing on May 5 and his body was found four days later. His death age 35, which police said is not being treated as suspicious, sent shockwaves through the sport.
Blackpool-born Jordan, nine, was fatally struck by lightning while playing football on May 11. He played for Clifton Rangers Junior Football Club, who described him as “an extraordinary young man”.
Hospital Cup chairman, Pete Gray said: “We wanted to do something for both Jordan and James - we’ve asked for donations of all kinds throughout the competition and people have given fantastically well.
“Then we had these tragedies concerning two North West people involved in football – and we know the local non-league scene is a very close community, so we knew that if we asked people to dig deep for them, they would.
“To raise that sort of money last night, I did the collection myself and people were very keen and almost chasing after me to put money in the bucket.
“It was really heart-warming to see that in action and people wanting to give. I knew they would, and they didn’t disappoint.
“I thought it wasn’t just a nice thing to do, but the right thing to do.
“To try and help in a very, very small way and do our bit as a competition, to acknowledge that the football family has lost two great people.”
Before the final between Turton FC and CMB got under way at Stainton Park, Radcliffe, the 810 fans in attendance paid tribute to the two lives lost with a minute’s applause. The collection saw fans donate £520 and organisers rounded the figure up to £600 to be split between the two families.