Tributes have been pouring in for “great guy” Paul Atkinson, who died suddenly at the weekend while travelling in India.
Friends and family have paid tribute to the gregarious character who had a passion for travel and football.
He was there for a lot of people, big heart and a great guy.
The father of three collapsed and died in a gym in Goa, India, where he had been living for some months.
His friend of 30 years Uenkata Reddy, of Indian restaurant The Maharaja in Church Street, told the Post: “He was a true friend, not a bad bone in his body. I loved him to pieces.”
His cousin Dianne Russell posted on Facebook: “What a very very sad weekend.
“I have lost not only my cousin but a lovable dear friend Paul Atkinson, gone way too soon, night night God bless cuz.”
Susan Moli, who knew Paul, wrote on Facebook: “Shocked and deeply saddened. Paul Atkinson, top lad, you’ll be missed massively. Rest in Peace.”
She told the Post: “He was there for a lot of people, big heart and a great guy.”
It is believed that Paul, 58, was staying at a guest house in the Maddowado Calangute area of Goa and had joined the gym in February.
He was a frequent visitor to the gym and had shown up on Friday morning as per his regular schedule.
Although an ambulance was called after he had collapsed, paramedics pronounced him dead when they arrived.
Inspector Jivba Dalvi told Dekh News: “Paul Gerard Atkinson, collapsed possibly due to a heart attack but we are waiting for the intelligence report to know the exact cause of death.”
The British High Commission in New Dehli was informed of the incident and has contacted Paul’s family.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: “We have provided assistance to family of a British man who died in Goa on March 25.
“Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”
Paul’s dad Brian was a landlord at the County Arms Hotel in Deepdale Road for 29 years and, following in his father’s footsteps, Paul also ran a few pubs and bars over the years.
As well as working alongside his father to run the County Arms Hotel and Barney’s Bar in Church Street Paul was landlord at JJ’s Lounge Bar in Moor Lane and he also opened a café called the Emporium in Church Street and for some time had his own ice cream van.
In 2014 he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in his pituitary gland but he did not let it stop him from going to see the World Cup finals in Brazil.
Waiting for the results of a brain scan the Tottenham Hotspur fan said at the time, “I’ve got a meeting with the neurosurgeon lined up, if it is good news I’m going to Rio and if it is bad news I’m going to Rio – life is too short.”
He survived his tumour and was known to be a keen traveller, exploring countries as far as Cuba, Vietnam and Thailand.
Paul is survived by his daughter Natalie and sons Jordan and Joshua.