THE father of Accrington Coronation Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh has died, aged 83.

John Hesmondhalgh passed away peacefully at the Royal Blackburn Hospital after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease and wet macular degeneration, a sight condition.

John, who had worked for Crown Paints, in Darwen, was described by his daughter, who plays Hayley Cropper in the long-running soap, as a ‘lovely man’ who loved to be around people.

Julie said: “My dad was just somebody everybody came into contact with and was really liked.

“He was warm, friendly and funny, and the messages I have had coming in have been absolutely lovely, and a great comfort.

“He was just the sort of person that if you met him, you would never forget and he would make people feel really welcome.”

John enjoyed watching matches at Church and Oswaldtwistle Cricket Club, and also collected the football pools around Church.

He moved into Springhall Nursing Home. in Accrington. last year Julie said: “He was quite a shy man, but he loved the company of other people.

“He was incredible, and an inspiration.

“We are very grateful for all of the messages from people who knew him as children, or from decades ago.

“We also want to thank the staff at the nursing home who all had a real soft spot for him.”

Jack Houldsworth, committee member at Church and Oswaldtwistle Cricket Club, said the pair used to go to matches together.

He said: “I have known John since he was one of the best tennis players in the borough. He was the most stoical man I ever met and I never heard him grumble about anything, nor did I ever hear from him a hard word, or criticism.

“He was a very, very brave man indeed, and I never heard him complain about anything.

“John was a very fit man and had been in the army at the end of the Second World War.

“He served, at one point, in Trieste in Italy, but he never spoke about it much.”

Jack said John and his wife, Maureen, enjoyed spending holidays in the north of Scotland, and that he was a very proud family man.

John also leaves a son, Dave, a professor of cultural studies at Leeds University.

His funeral will take place at 1.30pm on Mon-day, at Ernest Street Baptist Chapel, in Walmsley Close, Church, followed by cremation at Accrington Crematorium.

Donations can be made in John’s memory to Parkinson’s UK North West.