Fond farewell to ‘top bloke’ Merv

Merv and Anna Burton on their wedding day in New York.
Merv and Anna Burton on their wedding day in New York.

The family of a well-known Buxton man who died suddenly before Christmas have paid tribute to their “hero”, who lived life to the full.

Mervyn Burton, known as Merv, died from natural causes just before a road traffic collision at the Hardwick Square South junction with Darwin Avenue on December 21.

Merv Burton with sons Karl (front) and Ady (right) and the FA Cup.

Merv Burton with sons Karl (front) and Ady (right) and the FA Cup.

The 57-year-old leaves his wife Anna, sons Karl and Ady, mum Eve, dad Ted, stepsons Matthew and Ian, mother and father-in-law Carol and John, sisters-in-law Hayley and Nadia, granddaughters Kate and Emilia, Ady’s partner Debbie, and a huge circle of friends.

Born in Stockport, Merv grew up in Chinley before moving to Buxton when he was in his 20s.

He and Anna had been together for 12 years, and were married in New York three years ago.

They met through one of Merv’s passions, crown green bowling, but were actually on opposing sides, with Anna playing for Ashwood Peak and Merv playing for Cote Heath.

Anna said: “He was a very big character. He would always give people banter wherever he went. He was a cheeky chappy.

“He was just so generous, so loveable. He was really thoughtful and always had time for everyone.

“He was just my everything.”

Merv loved sports and had been involved in a huge variety over the years. In his younger days he was a champion showjumper, competing against some of the top names in the sport.

His love of football then took over and over the years, Merv played for a number of local teams including the Robin Hood, the Blazing Rag, the King’s Head and the Eagle.

He also spent four years managing Heath Grove Rangers, and was incredibly proud to have seen them reach a cup final.

Merv also played pool for a number of local teams, enjoyed golf, was a keen scuba diver and also enjoyed rock climbing. But following Buxton FC was one of his biggest interests.

Anna added: “Football was his life. He was a staunch Buxton fan and also loved Manchester United. He went to Old Trafford quite a few times but Buxton usually came first. He would follow them everywhere.”

Away from sport, Merv had recently taken an interest in growing flowers, and had won trophies for his dahlias. He was also a keen film and music fan, and had even been a DJ in the past.

An electrician by trade, he had worked at Dowlow Quarry for more than 20 years.

Son Ady said: “He was just an amazing dad. I’ve got lots of happy memories and that is what is getting me through really, remembering all the good things.

“My dad was always my hero. I looked up to him and loved watching him playing football. He was my hero and my best friend.”

And Karl added: “He lived his life in his own way, by his own rules and at his own pace. He lived more than most people ever dream of.”

As a huge Buxton FC fan, Merv was delighted to have the opportunity to play at the Silverlands. But it was a game he remembered for all the wrong reasons, Karl said. “One of his worst moments in football was when he missed an absolute sitter about three yards out. He was distraught.”

A practical joker, Merv enjoyed travel and had visited many places with Anna including Australia, Egypt and the Dominican Republic, where they had enjoyed diving.

Anna added: “We’d like to thank everyone for all their kind messages and support. It’s been overwhelming.”

Ady said: “He just seems to have touched so many people’s lives.”

Merv was well-known in Buxton and many tributes have been paid to him since his sad death. Buxton FC held a minute’s applause for him before their Boxing Day game against Matlock Town.

And people have also taken to Facebook to pay their respects.

Craig Johnston said: “Top bloke Merv was and a gentleman to bowl against.”

And Marie Vickery added: “Thoughts and prayers with his family and close friends. He was a lovely man. RIP Merv.”

His funeral will take place on Thursday January 8 at Buxton Methodist Church at 1.45pm. Anyone attending is asked to wear either Buxton FC blue or Manchester United red.

Donations will be split between Help for Heroes and the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance. Family flowers only.

* Any enquiries to RW Percival and Son on 01298 23056.