A FORMER professional footballer and well-known garage supplies business owner has died at the age of 85.

Raymond "Ray" Byrom played for Accrington Stanley for two years, starting in 1957, before moving to Bradford Park Avenue for three years.

Mr Byrom, known as 'Flash' in his playing days, was a pacey left-winger and moved to Bradford Park Avenue when his Stanley boss Walter Galbraith, asked him to follow him to the West Yorkshire club.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

Originally from Blackburn, but most recently living in Oswaldtwistle, Mr Byrom suffered a career ending injury during a match against Crew in 1961 which saw his leg in a cast for 18 months.

Ian Byrom, Ray's son, said his dad was roughly 25 at the time and had been playing professionally for around five years.

After football, Ray began working at motor supplies company in Blackburn, and another one in Accrington, before setting up Ray's Garage Supplies in 1972 with his wife Agnes.

Ray died on January 6 after a short spell in hospital.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

Ray's vans have been seen whizzing around East Lancashire for decades as the business still trades today, after Ray and his wife retired 25 years ago and passed the business onto his sons, Alan, David and Craig.

Ian said his dad was a wonderful man.

He said: "My dad was great, he was full of life and always supported all of his children in whatever we did.

"One of his favourite things was to go to Tenerife on holiday with my mum as they had a holiday home out there.

"He was a good footballer and he was sports mad."

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

Ray is one of three members of his family to play for Accrington Stanley.

His son, Alan, also played for the East Lancs team and Alan's son, Joe, played for them and currently plays for Stevenage FC.

Ray met his wife on a dancefloor in Blackburn and have been married for 62 years.

A requiem mass will take place on Friday, January 24 at St Mary's RC Church in Oswaldtwistle at 1.30pm, followed by a private ceremony at Accrington Crematorium.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

The Ray's Garage Supply vans will follow the funeral procession and the business will close on the day as a mark of respect.

Ray leaves behind children Ian David Alan, Elaine and Craig, grandchildren Holly, Alex, Mia, Ami, Ronnie, Joel, Nicole, Jade, Lloyd, Harvey and Sam, and great-grandchildren Lennon, Minnie, Jaxon and Olli, as well as brother Tony and wife Pat.

Donations are being received in memory of Ray on behalf of Royal Blackburn Critical Care Unit please make cheques payable to ELHT & ME or donate online via www.champfunerals.com/obituaries.