BARROW AFC have paid tribute to ‘devoted fan’ Dave Tilburn after he sadly passed away due to a long illness.

Dave attended his first match at Holker Street in 1959, which sparked a lifelong passion for The Bluebirds.

At the age of 16, the Barrow fan moved down to Manchester to train as a hairdresser.

During this time he started watching Manchester United play at their stadium, Old Trafford.

Despite attending their games, his interest for United could never match his love for his beloved Barrow.

After returning to south Cumbria at 19, Dave founded the Furness Salon, currently on the Crellin and Rawlinson St corner.

Dave used his business to support the football club.

He helped The Bluebirds with fundraising activities through the salon.

Dave also advertised regularly at the club's ground, Holker Street.

Unfortunately, during the last five years of his life Dave fought a long battle with cancer.

Despite this, he did not stop supporting Barrow and continued attending home and some away matches.

Sadly, he could not attend the few live matches at Holker Street following the club's return to the Football League.

However, he still cheered on the side through the iFollow service and was proud to see the club's achievements..

A statement by Barrow released on the club's website has remembered Dave.

It said: “It is with deep sadness that Barrow AFC have learned of the death of a devoted fan, Dave Tilburn.

"No matter how busy, on Saturday afternoons during the season Dave left the salon for home matches at Holker Street as well as many away trips, even as far as Dover.

"Dave was a great letter writer and, whether the person he was contacting was a football fan or not, they would learn the latest news of Barrow AFC in his letters.

“Whenever family and friends came to stay with Dave and it was the season, a trip to the football was on the cards.

"Friendships formed at the club stayed with him all his life.

“His nieces remember attending Holker Street between Christmas and New Year as an annual highlight.

"Determined to contribute to the improvement in disabled facilities at Holker Street, Dave has left a legacy that will contribute towards a fundraising event being organised to raise money for those improvements to the experience of our disabled fans.

"After 62 years supporting Barrow AFC, the club was central to Dave Tilburn’s life and his pride in the town.

"Barrow AFC would like to extend our deepest condolences to Richard and Dave's family for their loss."