OFFICIALS at Bolton Lads and Girls Club said members were in a state of shock after the death of “one of its most prolific and wellrespected supporters” in the Nepal air crash.
Vincent Kelly, aged 50, was a longstanding supporter, having been a member in his youth.
The club said it was his experience of the club as a youngster and his enthusiasm for championing young people that led him and his family to become passionate fundraisers.
In 2011, Mr Kelly was instrumental in raising funds to help the club replace its old astroturf sports pitch by cycling 874 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End.
His generosity meant that more than 400 young people per week are now able to continue to play all weather sports.
Mr Kelly was also part of the Bolton Atlantic Challenge Team which aims to raise funds for the club’s junior mentoring programme.
Mark Brocklehurst, Mr Kelly’s friend, who is also a member of the Bolton Lads and Girls Club board, said: “We are devastated to hear the news of the deaths of Vincent and his brother Darren.
“It is a terrible tragedy that has seen us lose a wonderful powerhouse of a man, leaving us numb.”
Mr Kelly was part of a group of Bolton businessmen who were due to take part in the 2012 Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Challenge — a 3,000-mile trip across the Atlantic in a 29ft boat — to raise money for the BLGC mentoring scheme.
Other members of the team include Mr Brocklehurst, from the Sharples Group, Nick Griffiths, from Bupa, Matt Tomkin, from Comms Consult and Finn Christo and Colin Nulty from Appliances Online.
The adventure was billed as one of the world’s most extreme rowing challenges and the team had set themselves a target of raising £250,000.
Mr Kelly was the technical manager and official reservist for the challenge — but had to be prepared both mentally and physically.