John’s ‘labour of love’ for Sir Tom’s family

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Hundreds of people turned out to sign books of condolence following the death of legendary footballer Sir Tom Finney.

Queues formed at the Town Hall and the Harris Museum as mourners waited to leave their messages, and extra books had to be opened to keep up with demand.

Condolence book: Apprentice bookbinder, Jamie Jones, 18, from Sanderson Bookbinders

Condolence book: Apprentice bookbinder, Jamie Jones, 18, from Sanderson Bookbinders

Now the books are being bound by a Preston company, before they are presented to the Finney family.

John Doherty, director at Sanderson Bookbinders, has worked for weeks on the three special books, and described the work as a “labour of love”.

He said: “Each book is about six inches thick, and there are about five or six different names on each page.

“Because I am such a long-time Preston North End fan, I thought I couldn’t charge for this - it would be against my nature. I couldn’t charge for something so close to my heart.”

John said he had met Sir Tom at Deepdale and described him as “such a lovely man”. He said: “It was a labour of love”.

John received dozens of wire-bound books from Preston Council, and went through a meticulous process to create the three volumes.

He said: “It is a complex job.

“But everybody has commented and said what a nice job. I’m very critical of my own work, but I have had people in who have said what a lovely job.”

He added: “I’ve had such a long affinity with PNE - I’ve been going every week and I’m a season ticket holder.

“I’ve been going on and off for the last 40 or 50 years.”

Each of the books has a blue leather spine and a blue cover with gold letters on, and a picture of The Splash inside.

They have blue and white ribbons to represent Preston North End colours, and will be presented to Sir Tom’s family within the next few weeks.

John said: “There are a lot of names in there, and a lot of lovely comments made by the people of Preston.

“Now I’ve put it together so it’s there for as long as you want it to be.”