WARM tributes have been paid to a 'man with a big heart' who has died aged 60.

Sports enthusiast Brian Sims was well-known for the years he spent following Clitheroe Cricket Club who he also played for in his younger years.

He was also a keen snooker player where he played with the Legion in the Clitheroe League and with Feniscowles in the Blackburn with Darwen small table league.

Tributes have poured in from across the local sporting scene for Mr Sims, known as 'Simbo', who died on Thursday (May 9).

Journalist Harold Heys, from Darwen, knew Mr Sims for 30 years, where they were keen snooker rivals, team mates and friends.

Mr Heys said that Mr Sims, from Clitheroe, had used snooker to turn his life around after he readily admitted mixing with the wrong crowd on the Northern soul scene and to being into amphetamines.

He said: "Everyone knew Brian as a real character, and he was a good player and excellent company. But he readily admitted to a wasted youth.

"In one piece I wrote on him he looked back to the 70s and early 80s. 'I was mixing with the wrong crowd on the Northern soul scene. I was naive and weak and got in with some right loons.

"I was into amphetamines in a big way and it was only a matter of time before I got into big trouble. I only had myself to blame, I suppose. But I paid my debt to society – and I took up snooker. It gave me a focus. It gave me a new outlook on life'."

He added: "Snooker fans throughout Lancashire have been paying tributes on social networks to a big bloke with a big heart. No one had a bad word to say about him. No one – except himself."

Neil McGovern, of Ighten Leigh Social Club, remembered first meeting Mr Sims, who he described as a 'good friend', 15 years ago to play snooker.

He said: "My team were drawn against Feniscowles in the Lancashire 10 reds annual competition.

"I played Brian and he give me a right pasting.

"He was a very good snooker player and a good friend and will be sadly missed."

Clitheroe Cricket Club players have also made their own tributes, with club captain Peter Dibb saying his passion for the sport was 'second to none'.

He said: "I've known Brian ever since I've been playing which is for about 20 years.

"He'd been involved with the club for a good 50 years where he played as a junior and he followed the team home and away as a supporter.

"He event donated money to help the club with equipment and refurbishment.

"His passion for cricket was second to none." Paul Gaskell, who is also involved with the cricket club, added: "He had a sister and a brother and was known by so many people.

"He was a lovely bloke and had time for everyone and he's going to be missed by so many people."