Death of former PNE centre-forward

Former Preston North End centre-forward Alex Alston has died in a Blackpool nursing home at the age of 71.

The goalscorer, who netted 30 times for the club in 117 appearances between 1957 and 1963, had been suffering from dementia for some years.

Alston was born in Preston, but was spotted playing for non-league Netherfield in Kendal.

He made his debut as a replacement for the injured Tom Finney at Sunderland in the 1957/58 season which saw North End finish runners-up to Wolves in the First Division.

He scored in Finney's retirement game against Luton Town at Deepdale in April 1960 and he was a member of the team relegated from the top flight the following season.

Sunderland were the opponents in Alston's final game for PNE before he moved to Bury in March 1963.

He scored 22 goals in 86 games for The Shakers before switching to Barrow in 1965 (14 goals in 47 appearances) and ending his career at non-league Fleetwood.

He died at the weekend at Ryecourt Nursing Home just days short of his 72nd birthday.

The funeral will be at Carleton Crematorium on Thursday at 1.30pm. Floral tributes can be sent to funeral directors D Hollowell and Sons in Devonshire Road, Blackpool.