TRIBUTES have been paid to a dad and avid sportsman from Bolton.

Ian Nuttall was a popular character in the Bolton cricket community and was once named professional and captain of Farnworth Social Circle where he had the unbelievable achievement of winning the league championship, Hamer Cup and Lancashire Knockout trophy in the same season.

He also played for Kearsley, Darcy Lever and Bradshaw during his career.

The 66-year-old lived in Bolton, Farnworth and more recently in Kearsley and in his life worked as a lorry driver, fruit and vegetable seller and crane worker.

Ian, also known as ‘Nugger’, leaves behind partner Marie, daughters Fiona and Laura and grandchildren Jessie, Rosie, Pacha, Lorenza and Giorgio after he passed away on March 19 at Bolton Hospice.

Daughter Fiona Lane said: “He was such a popular man. He was really kind with a dry sense of humour and would do whatever he could for anyone. He was a loyal friend to many and a lot of people have reached out to offer condolences and share memories.

“He was very humble about his own talents and even though we spent our childhoods in and around the local cricket grounds, we were still surprised to hear about his accomplishments in his playing career. After he retired from playing he still worked as a groundsman at Darcy Lever.”

Ian was given a terminal cancer prognosis before Christmas.

A Justgiving page was set up for Ian and at the time of going to press it was on £5,480 from family and friends and the wider cricketing community.

Fiona added: “It was kindly set-up by Simon Booth, captain at Farnworth Cricket Club, to help raise funds towards his care.

“The money is being put towards the funeral costs and then all remaining donations will be donated to MacMillan Cancer Support and Bolton Hospice.

“He was only with Bolton Hospice for a short time at the end but they were fantastic and cared for him and they do such a great job in difficult circumstances and that is why we want to donate to them.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support of people and their messages have been comforting for the family.”

Ian was a keen sportsman, playing football, cricket and golf during his life but he had one other passion - Bolton Wanderers.

Fiona said: “We were season ticket holders for Wanderers and had great memories of times there with our friends”.

“We went to the last ever match at Burnden Park with dad and watched when Big Sam had us in the Premier League, attending as many games as we could.”

Friend Ian Edwards said: “Ian and I have been mates since teenagers with our group all being best mates.

“Ian joined Farnworth Social Circle cricket club in the mid-1980s when I was captain and left to become professional at Darcy Lever CC.

“Ian captained Farnworth SC when we won the Hamer Cup in 1988, he played with Farnworth SC until 1995 and in those years we won Lancashire Knockout, Bolton League title and the Hamer Cup.

“Ian was one of the best left arm spin bowlers to play Bolton League cricket and I have received numerous phone calls from local and international cricketers asking regards Ian’s condition. Ian was a family friend and we spent many holidays together in Tenerife. He will be sadly missed.”

Funeral arrangements are currently being put together for Ian.