UPDATE: Tributes to 'kind and unassuming' HGV driver killed in M6 eight-vehicle collision (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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UPDATE: Tributes to 'kind and unassuming' HGV driver killed in M6 eight-vehicle collision
Updated 3:43pm Wednesday 27th February 2013 in News
A GRANDFATHER killed in a collision on the M6 'had a smile for everyone and lived life to the full’, his family said.
Alan Walmsley, 62 and known as 'Jossy', was driving a SPAR lorry when he was involved in the eight-vehicle collision on Monday morning. He died at the scene.
A statement released on behalf of Mr Walmsley's family said: "Alan (Jossy) Walmsley was a devoted husband to his wife Jacqs for 43 years. He was her soul mate, best friend, her rock and much more. He will be sorely missed by her and all the family.
"Alan was a proud dad and granddad. He leaves two sons, Jay and Ian, his daughter Donna, daughter-in-law Pam, and four grandchildren.
"Alan lived in the Preston area all of his life and moved to Longridge 30 years ago. Throughout this time he did various fundraising events for the locals.
"The 'Ollie and Jade' fund was one of the main charities he supported with his fundraising.
"He also used to play football for Ribchester club and, after he sustained an injury, he turned to managing local teams.
"He was also secretary of Longridge United - now known as AFC Longridge. He will be a big loss throughout the community we are sure.
"Alan lived life to the full. He had a smile for everyone and always tried to help people even if that meant he went without.
"He always saw the best in everyone. He loved his job, had worked for local companies all his life and when he wasn't working weekends and busy with football, he could be found on his allotment with his various stock chickens and goats.
"He was a great role model for his grandson, Nathan, who went up every weekend to help with the animals. So much so that Nathan is now pursuing this as a career.
"He had various other hobbies. Fishing was one where twice yearly he would travel to Scotland with friends to enjoy this pastime.
"Alan was part of a large, close family and he leaves behind his dad, three brothers and one sister."
Tributes have also been paid to Mr Walmsley from the local football community.
Eamonn McNamara, chairman of the Lancashire Sunday Football League, knew him for more than a decade.
He said: "Alan was a model club man, always very helpful and most co-operative.
"He bought into the standard that the league sets and always strived to improve the quality of his own club.
"He was just an all-round great guy.
"I’ve been involved in local football for 40 years and it's a sad fact of life that some characters involved die, but I have never known a reaction to a death like what there has been for Alan.
"My phone hasn't stopped and dozens of people have been paying tribute on Facebook and Twitter."
And in a message on the Lancashire Sunday Football League's website he wrote: "Alan Walmsley, the popular secretary of AFC Longridge has been tragically killed in a motorway accident.
"Alan has been associated with this League for many years with Longridge United and latterly AFC Longridge where he forged an enduring partnership with team manager Joe Dewhurst.
"It is always devastating for us to lose someone from the football family, but it is particularly saddening when that person is as kind, considerate and unassuming as Alan Walmsley."
Dean Crossen, manager of league rivals Preston Muldoons, shared the touchline with Mr Walmsley when their respective sides clashed last Thursday.
He said: "I've known him for years. We grew up in the same football circles and I sat beside him at league meetings.
"It’s so sad to think that we were together last week and now he's gone."
Ian Hall, Chairman of James Hall & Co, the firm Mr Walmsley worked for and SPAR's distributor in the north of England, said: "We are all deeply saddened at the tragic and sudden loss of Alan Walmsley.
"Alan was quite simply a great employee – popular with customers and staff alike - generous of spirit and a thoroughly nice person. He will be missed by us all.
"Our thoughts are with Alan’s family and friends at this sad time."
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