Clitheroe charity champ loses cancer battle

John Marsden
John Marsden

The life of charity supporter Mr John Marsden was being celebrated yesterday at a service at St James’s Church, Clitheroe.

Mr Marsden, a retired magistrates’ clerk, of Ribblesdale Avenue, Clitheroe, had been fighting cancer for four and a half years but tenaciously worked to support the Solomon Project, the Lancaster Foundation project that helps provide education for poor children in Kenya.

John was a selfless person and put everyone else first, before himself

Wife Ann

A keen fan of 1950s and ’60s rock ‘n’ roll greats such as Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent, Mr Marsden – known to friends as “Maz” – and his wife Ann organised rock n’ roll dances at The Grand, Clitheroe, raising £12,740.

Brought up in Clitheroe and a former pupil of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, Mr Marsden had worked at courts in Blackburn, Runcorn, Nantwich, Hyndburn, Rossendale and Skipton until his retirement 15 years ago.

In his younger days, he had played cricket and soccer for the Waddington village teams and cross-country running while at school.

He had been a Burnley Football Club fan since the age of 11 when his father first took him to Turf Moor, and he was a member of the Foundation Club there. He was thrilled when the club were promoted back to the Premiership last season.

Mr Marsden, married for 48 years and a father of two, died at home aged 71.

Mrs Marsden said she had been comforted by the prayers of fellow members of St James’s Church, and messages of condolence from people saying how he helped other people in his life.

She said: “John was a selfless person and put everyone else first, before himself.”

A private family burial was being held yesterday, followed by the service to celebrate his life.

The family asked for donations instead of flowers for the Solomon Foundation, c/o Mr Alan Braithwaite, Coniston, 39 Union Street, Low Moor, Clitheroe.