Family pay tribute to 'genuine and gentle' former Yorkshire Coast footballer

The family of a former Yorkshire Coast footballer whose body was found at the weekend say they are "utterly heartbroken".
Former Bridlington Town footballer James Dean. (Photo: Lancashire Constabulary)Former Bridlington Town footballer James Dean. (Photo: Lancashire Constabulary)
Former Bridlington Town footballer James Dean. (Photo: Lancashire Constabulary)

Police have confirmed that a body found on Sunday in the Moscow Mill Street of Lancashire is that of missing man James Dean who used to play for Bridlington Town.

The 35-year-old had last been seen in the Orchard Drive area of Oswaldtwistle at around midnight on Wednesday.

His death is not being treated as suspicious.

James Dean playing for Chorley.James Dean playing for Chorley.
James Dean playing for Chorley.
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"As a family, we are utterly heartbroken and we can’t believe our James has really gone," said James's family.

"We are still hoping he will walk back through the door and give us one of his smiles.

"James was a loving father to his boys, a son, grandson, nephew and a brother and he will be desperately missed by so many.

"He was such a genuine and gentle person who would go out of his way to help anyone who needed it.

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"We would like to thank everyone in the community who has helped in the search for James over the last few days and everyone at Brave Church for their love and support.

"We would also ask that people please don’t speculate about what happened to James as it’s not fair for us as a family – especially his boys – to read these things. The truth will come out in good time.

"While we are touched by all the lovely things people have said about James we would ask that we are now left in peace to try and come to terms with what has happened."

Bridlington Town posted on Twitter: "Such sad news about James. Our thoughts and condolences are with all of his family and friends at this sad time.

"RIP Deano."

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Mr Dean played for several clubs in Yorkshire and Lancashire in a prolific non-league career, including Chorley, Harrogate, FC Halifax Town, Altrincham, Warrington Town, Ashton United, AFC Fylde and Stalybridge Celtic.