Former Anglican Bishop of Lancaster Rev Geoff Pearson has paid tribute to football legend and committed Christian Jimmy Armfield, who died this week.
As well as being a former Blackpool and England footballer, manager, broadcaster and High Sheriff of Lancashire, Jimmy was also an active member of his local church in Blackpool, where he was organist and choirmaster as well as treasurer. In 2001 Jimmy also became a lay Canon of Blackburn Cathedral.
The recently retired Bishop Geoff had known Jimmy for many years. A huge football fan, in 2016 Bishop Geoff described Jimmy in his regular Lancaster Guardian column as his ‘hero’.
Speaking this week, Bishop Geoff remembered meeting his hero for the first time after becoming Bishop saying: “He introduced himself to me saying ‘hello, I’m Jimmy Armfield’ – no airs and graces, just an ordinary bloke. I replied ‘THE Jimmy Armfield?’ As a football fan it was an exciting moment!
“In the years that followed I got to know him well and we kept in touch after I retired. Jimmy was a great football man of course, but there were so many other dimensions to him...and then there was his voice. Away from his beloved game he kept his feet on the ground through his involvement with his local church in Blackpool. I will miss him greatly.”