THE family of a father who died following a cardiac arrest in a town centre gym have paid tribute ‘a truly wonderful man.’

Paul Richardson, of Great Harwood, was in PureGym in Blackburn on Monday afternoon when he collapsed while on the treadmill.

Paramedics were called but they were unable to revive the 57-year-old.

His daughter Gemma Richardson paid tribute to her father, a man with a ‘wicked sense of humour’ and thanked all of those who helped her dad out.

She said: “My dad was a wonderful man who always lived life to the full. He loved football, Formula 1, music and going to the pub to see his mates.

"He was loved by so many people and the support we have received over the past couple of days has been amazing.

“Both my mother and I would like to thank everyone who helped him out from the bottom of our hearts.

“It must have been incredibly traumatic for all of the staff in the gym. It's not the kind of thing you expect to happen when you go to work. But we know they did an amazing job and put their all in to trying to save him.”

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Mr Richardson, who was born in Islington, London, moved to Great Harwood after meeting his wife Debbie while they were both serving in the Navy. They celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary in January.

Gemma said her dad, an experienced skier, was keen to get back into a bright yellow ski-suit he used to wear a number of years ago, and that was his motivation for going to the gym.

Lawyer Gemma said: “We had our last family holiday together in January when we went to Bulgaria. We had a wonderful time and I’m so glad we had that opportunity before he died.

“He was a firm believer in living every day as if it was his last and that is exactly what he did.”

Mr Richardson later worked in East Lancashire as a mobile chiropodist.

Gemma, 30, added: “As a family we are eternally grateful for everything that was done for him, from the bottom of our hearts.”

Paul’s funeral, for family and close friends, will take place on Thursday. Everyone who knew and loved Paul is welcome to join his family at the Cross Axes in Great Harwood from 3.30pm to raise a toast in his memory.

People can donate to either the North West Air Ambulance Service or the Bolton Armed Forces Centre 4 Veterans.