'Popular, loving' Sheffield Wednesday fan drowned on Caribbean cruise
Tributes have been paid to a ‘popular’ and ‘loving’ Sheffield Wednesday fan who drowned while on a cruise in the Caribbean.
Paul Carder, who was a huge Owls supporter, founder of Don Valley Windows and stalwart of grassroots football, died after getting into difficulties while swimming in the sea off Costa Rica on January 16.
The 63-year-old father-of-three, who also had three grandchildren, was remembered on Saturday at Hillsborough, where he had been a season ticket holder, with a tribute included in the programme and flashed up on the big screen.
It is the latest tragedy to strike the family after Paul lost his 15-year-old son Ryan, who died of sudden adult death syndrome in 2002, and Ryan’s son Tom, who died aged 13 from a rare heart condition in 2016.
Tom’s mother Keira, whom Paul regarded as a daughter, also lost her 23-month-old son Joshua on Christmas Day in 2007.
Paul, who grew up in Woodthorpe, Sheffield, but had lived for the last 20 years in Wickersley, Rotherham, worked as a joiner before establishing Don Valley Windows in 1991 and building it up into the successful business it is today.
He had recently handed the reins to his son Lewis, 25, and was enjoying his ‘semi-retirement’ when tragedy struck.
In a moving tribute, Lewis described his dad as a ‘loving, popular’ man with ‘such a big heart’, who was ‘my absolute world’.
“My dad was one in a million and was adored by all the family and anyone who knew him. He was a proper man’s man, worked his socks off to make sure we as a family and his kids were always looked after,” he said.
“Despite losing both his son and grandson at tender ages of 15 and 13 respectively, he still kept this family strong.
“He loved travelling around the world and since his semi-retirement (so he used to call it) has gone from continent to continent really enjoying his life he fully deserved, only for this to happen.
“It’s been amazing to hear all the kind things people have to say about him. I always knew he was well-loved but I didn’t realise quite how much he would be missed.”
Paul was chairman of Brinsworth Whitehill JFC, where club secretary Ian Walker described him as ‘my rock’.
“He was a gentleman who would do anything for anybody, and he was such a likeable guy, with so many friends. We were all devastated by the news, which was so unexpected,” added Ian.
Paul’s death has cast a shadow over the club, where he has been honoured with a minute’s silence before matches and there are plans to name the food cabin he installed there in his memory.
Football was his first passion but he was also a keen angler, who had a caravan at Shortferry Caravan Park in Lincoln, where he enjoyed regular fishing trips.
Paul is survived by his wife Julie; his son Lewis; his daughters Sally, 28; and Leanne, 34; and his grandchildren Libby, 11; Louie, two; and Ronnie, aged 11 months.