Heartfelt tributes have today been paid to a retired police officer and leading light in the Blackpool fund-raising community.
David Armer, 60, a former St Annes detective chief inspector, died on February 15 two weeks after suffering from sudden heart failure.
His widow, Denise, today said her husband “loved being a police officer and loved being a part of people’s lives”.
Born in Carnforth, Mr Armer first came to Blackpool as a police cadet and volunteered for a host of charitable organisations including the Round Table and 41 Club.
A lifelong fan of football, he was a Class 1 referee in the West Lancashire Football League and managed his son’s football team, Foxhall Boys under-13s, in the late 1990s.
A minute’s silence was held on Saturday at West Lancashire League club matches in his memory while photos of him in a Fleetwood Town scarf were displayed before the club’s win against Notts County.
His daughter Natalie, 27, said: “My favourite times with my dad were to the “Oval Office” – which really meant a drive-thru trip to McDonald’s.
“Despite Denise’s amazing cooking, dad loved a burger, and we’d sit on the Prom and put the world to rights.”
Denise said: “David always wanted people to be happy.
“He’d struggled with a separate illness in the past year and was progressing really well with that, so to be hit by a totally unrelated illness is a real tragedy. The strength and courage he showed was tremendous and I’m very proud of him.
“The family would like to thank everyone at Blackpool Victoria Hospital who helped Dave in the past year.”
David’s son Stuart, 30, said: “I’ll always cherish the fond memories I have of the Preston North End matches we watched together, jumping around in the stands or in the lounge at home.
“We celebrated every goal with a great big hug and I smile every time I remember that.”
During the final years of his police career he specialised in child protection from Lancashire Police headquarters in Hutton.
He then specialised as a lecturer in child protection and worked for Blackpool Council in a similar role.
Coun Ivan Taylor, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “David worked for the council since 2005 and led on important projects to help make the town safer for children to live in.
“He particularly dealt with the role of licensed premises in protecting children.
“He was an extremely popular and well-liked man and his colleagues always had a good word to say about him.
“As a town, Blackpool will miss his passion to look after the town’s children immensely.
“We’re sorry to hear of his passing and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
Mr Armer, of Kingfisher Drive, Poulton, was a founder member of the Blue Light Gynn Square Memorial fund-raising group, set up to provide a lasting tribute to three police officers who drowned while trying to rescue a man from the sea in Blackpool in 1983.
Fellow member Dana Gledhill, said: “David was involved from the outset with our fund-raising efforts.
“He made an extremely valuable contribution and all our members were very sorry to hear of his passing.
“It’s very sad that he won’t see the finish to our project with the renovation of Jubilee Gardens this summer.”
Mr Armer was local committee chairman for the National Association of Retired Police Officers and volunteered for Child Flight, a charity that gave terminally ill children the chance to visit DisneyWorld in Florida.
Close friend Barry Oldham, a fellow former Detective Inspector and referee, said: “David had time for everybody and he touched the hearts of so many people.
“He was a very busy guy who made a big difference to people’s lives.
“His death is a massive loss to us all.”
John Brown, general secretary of the West Lancashire league, said: “Dave was very dedicated to the league, and was very well liked by both clubs and other referees.
“In addition to being a referee, he also held posts as grounds chairman and was the referee appointments officer until a few years ago.”
Mr Armer’s funeral is being held at St Chad’s Church in Poulton on Friday March 6 at 1.30pm followed by a service at Carleton Crematorium.
The family has asked for donations to two charities in lieu of flowers, MIND and the British Heart Foundation.