A father has spoken of his “sadness and pride” after the death of his football-mad son at just 20 -years-old.
Across the Fylde Coast, young footballers held a minute’s applause in tribute to Jordan Whitehouse who died from cystic fibrosis, a condition he had battled most of his life. Jordan died on Thursday.
And at the weekend footballers paid their respects to the young man who played more than 100 games for Blackpool Rangers, despite his life-shortening conditions.
Today his family and friends paid tribute to the 110-goal scoring striker who “never gave up”.
His dad Ian, 42, spoke of his sadness at Jordan’s death but said he would always be proud of how his only child “never let cystic fibrosis get the better of him”.
Mr Whitehouse, of Highcroft Avenue, Bispham, said: “Jordan was a happy-go-lucky lad. He always had a smile on his face and tried not to let his illness get him down.
He started to cut off his friends because he didn’t want them to see him like that
“His determination to live life as normally as possible was so strong that people who didn’t know him well were unaware he was even ill.
“He loved football and supported Liverpool all his life. He always wanted to play, although he often found it a great challenge.
“Often he wanted to play, even though he wasn’t feeling well. He was more worried about letting his friends down than himself.
“I was Jordan’s manager for some of the time he was at Blackpool Rangers and even I found him more than a handful. He loved the game and always wanted to do his best.
“He scored 110 goals in about 115 games and is remembered with fondness by his old team mates.”
Jordan went to Carleton St Hilda’s Primary School and later, Montgomery High School but as his illness progressed, he was forced to quit the game at 16.
Mr Whitehouse said: “He was very ill during the last two and a half years of his life and was often in hospital.
“He started to cut off his friends because he didn’t want them to see him like that. He wanted them to think of him as the lad who loved football.
“But despite not seeing him for a while, all his friends have been in contact after his death on Thursday.
“Jordan just didn’t want to be remembered for his illness. We will always remember his playing football with a smile on his face despite the fact that sometimes he found it really hard. That’s the kind of determined boy he was.
Cystic fibrosis causes mucus to collect in the lungs and digestive system. Many sufferers do not live to adulthood.
Mr Whitehouse and Jordan’s mum Vicky, 41, thanked the young footballers who marked Jordan’s passing at the weekend.
It was Blackpool Rangers’ chairman Steve Simms who called on teams to hold a minute’s applause before kick-off to honour Jordan.
He said: “Jordan was with Blackpool Rangers for over 10 years, alongside his dad Ian who managed the team during that time.
“He will be sadly missed by everyone. I thought it was a fitting way to remember him. He was a lad who was popular with everyone.”
Jordan’s uncle Dean Whitehouse said: “Jordan loved football and liked nothing more than playing and training with his team mates who were such a massive part of his and Vicky and Ian’s life.
“The laughter and joy that was a normal part of them all being together was extraordinary and a compliment to the coaching team, parents and the football club as a whole who continue to offer the opportunity for our young people to enjoy this great game and all that goes with it.”
Teams taking part in the tribute included South Shore Youth FC, Fleetwood Town Juniors, St Annes FC, Foxhall Hoops, Spirit of Youth and Poulton Flames.
His funeral will take place at Carleton Crematorium at 10.45am on Saturday. Donations to the Cystic Fibrosis Unit at Wythenshawe Hospital.
Scores took to Facebook to pay their own tribute.
Kev McGuirk wrote: “RIP to you Jordan and all our thoughts, from all at Fleetwood Town Juniors Under 11s and 12s, sent your way at such an unimaginable time. God bless you all at Blackpool Rangers xx”
Darren Holt said: “RIP Jordan, so sad to hear a young man past away deepest condolences to the family from all at Clifton Rangers X”
Wendy Buckley said: “My thoughts go out to Ian and Vicky... Such lovely people, have fond memories of Blackpool Rangers... Jordan was a lovely lad with such talent.. Rip X”
Sue Caton said: “So very sad words seem inadequate! Sincere condolences to the family. Jordan fought long and bravely. Our thoughts and love are with you all Sue, Les & Co Lancaster xx”
Craig Noteboom said: “RIP Jordan so sad when someone so young is taken away. Thoughts are with the family on behalf of Clifton Rangers Hornets U10s”