Wife’s heartache after football match tragedy

HAPPY TIMES: Stephen Connor with wife Nicola on their wedding day just 10 weeks ago

HAPPY TIMES: Stephen Connor with wife Nicola on their wedding day just 10 weeks ago

A footballer who died after collapsing on the pitch had been married for just 10 weeks.

Stephen Connor complained of feeling dizzy while playing on Sunday morning for Plough FC against the Half Way House team in the Chorley Nissan Sunday League.

The 30-year-old collapsed on the pitch and two players from Half Way House used CPR to try to resuscitate him.

Stephen was taken to Royal Preston Hospital by air ambulance but died shortly afterwards.

Today, his widow Nicola, who he married at St John’s Church in Whittle-le-Woods.aid: “He was easy-going and irritatingly laidback. He would do anything for anybody.”

They enjoyed a honeymoon in Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and were planning to start a family.

The couple met while studying at Bangor University and lived in Buckshaw Village.

He also leaves his parents, Tricia and Jim Connor, brother Andrew, seven nieces and nephews, and eight godchildren.

Andrew said: “There is a massive, gaping hole left by his absence.”

Tricia, of Preston Road, Whittle-le-Woods, said: “He was kind-hearted and was always there when we needed him.”

Mystery surrounds how Stephen died and a post-mortem examination will be held this week. Andrew said: “He has played thousands and thousands of hours on the pitch of different sports and nothing has happened before.”

Sam Bolton, one of the players who tried to revive Stephen said: “He collapsed on the pitch and we rushed to him and provided CPR. It was a mammoth effort from everybody. I’ve known Stephen for a long time.

“It’s a terrible situation and I’m feeling it badly.”

Stephen – known as Dingle for his lifelong support of Burnley FC – leaves his wife Stephen attended St John’s Primary School and St Michael’s High School, before studying at Runshaw College.

He worked as an NVQ assessor for Learn Direct.

As well as playing for Plough FC, he was captain of the first team of Whittle And Clayton-le-Woods Cricket Club.

He joined the club as a junior and played a key role, also helping to coach the youth teams and with tasks behind the scenes.

John Cowley, club chairman, said: “I can say, with absolute honesty, that he was probably the nicest lad I have ever been privileged to coach and work with.

His personality was one of a very warm, open, sincere lad.”

A date has not yet been set for the funeral, but mourners will be asked to wear the colours of Burnley FC or Denver Broncos.




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