A WELL-loved and respected former footballer died earlier this month, with tributes paid by his devoted family.

Bill Calder, who died at his home in Ramsbottom on Wednesday November 10 aged 87, was best known in the area as a stalwart of Bury FC's third division title winning team of 1961.

To his family, which included two daughters, five grandchildren and a great-grandchild, Bill was a lifelong inspiration Son-in-law Stephen Powers said: "He was just a fantastic bloke and he always looked out for us.

"He was just a great example, everything he did and why he did it, he did it for his family."

Hailing originally from Greenock, the young Bill Calder first went south of the border to sign for Leicester City in 1955.

He would remain at the Midlands club for four years, interrupted by his National Service in Gibraltar.

But it was after signing for Bury FC 1959 that he would make his greatest mark on the game, transitioning from a midfielder to a centre forward in the process.

Scoring 21 goals in the course of a season, Bill was an ever-present in manager Dave Russell's side which won promotion to the old Second Division as champions.

Bill stayed with Bury until 1963, during which time the club were able to keep their place in the Second Division and to reach the semi-final of the 1962-3 league cup.

He would ultimately score 63 goals for Bury FC.

Once his time at Bury had come to an end, Bill then went to to play for Oxford United and then Rochdale before finally hanging up his boots in 1968 with Macclesfield Town.

Along the way, he met and married the love of his life, Anne, and the couple would have two daughters, Alison and Deborah, together before becoming grandparents to Jamie, Lewis, Chloe, William and Scott and great-grandparents to Roman.

The couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary together earlier this year.

All of the couple's grandchildren have left messages to their departed grandfather.

One of them, from grandson Lewis, details Bill's playing days and concludes "To me, however, he was simply 'grandad', the most wonderful role model and steadfast in his support and love for his family." Bill's funeral will take place at Radcliffe Crematorium on November 26.

His loved ones are welcoming donations made in his memory to Bury Hospice.