Tributes from Preston North End staff and supporters have been flooding in following the death of 36-year-old former fans’ team player Stuart Bolton, who recently lost his battle with cancer.Advertisement
Stu, who had been receiving treatment for a malignant brain tumour for the past 10 years, died peacefully at home on 31 May wearing his PNE shirt.
Family say Stu lived and breathed North End, attending matches from when he could walk. He played for the PNE fans team from 2006 to 2011, contributing to the local community and supporting charity fundraising events. It was while playing with the team that he had his first collapse, which later resulted in his cancer diagnosis.
Before lockdown, Stu’s family had booked two boxes for the PNE game against Derby. It was one of Stu’s last wishes to watch one last match surrounded by his family. The game never happened, and family say that was a real blow for Stu.
The funeral will take place at Preston Crematorium on Friday 12 June at 3.15pm, and will be streamed live due to the restrictions on the number of people who can attend. On the way to the crematorium, the hearse will go past Deepdale and the Sir Tom Finney ‘The Splash’ statue.
Stu and his wife Kelly, who celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary on 19 May, have a five-year-old daughter, Annabelle.
Kelly said: “Stu was truly one of a kind and still cracked jokes right at the very end. He was an amazing husband and fantastic dad. He was my soulmate and mine and Annabelle’s absolute world.
“We’re upset that we can’t give Stu the send-off he deserves because of the coronavirus restrictions, so we are encouraging people to clap the hearse as it passes near to the ground. Stu would have loved that.”
Stu attended Queen’s Drive Primary School and Archbishop Temple High School. After getting his teaching qualification at St Martin’s, Stu taught Geography at Rivington and Blackrod High School.
Stu’s popularity at PNE can be seen in the many pages of tributes paid on the PNE Online forum.
PNE kit man and former fans’ team manager, Steve Cowell, said: “Stu loved life, loved his family and loved his club PNE. Those three all came together one day in March 2009, when he met his future wife, Kelly, on the train coming back from a PNE away game at Charlton.
“Stu was taken far too early, but he will never be forgotten and he will always be in our thoughts.”