Tributes paid to Sheffield bar owner, 38, 'who had a positive impact on everybody he met'

The family of a popular Sheffield brewer and bar owner have paid a heartfelt tribute to their ‘kind’ son and husband who ‘had a positive impact on everybody he met’.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 9:02 am

James Eardley, who ran the Ecclesall Ale Club which had bars on Ecclesall Road and in Fulwood, died aged 38 on Monday after battling colorectal cancer for three years.

Loyal staff, friends and family spoke of James’ warm personality, paying tribute to an ‘inspiration’ who was ‘taken far too soon’.

James’ father Robert, his mother Lynda and his wife Sam all spoke of their ‘unimaginable pain’ following James’ death, but said that he ‘made the most of every minute’ of his life even when faced with his health issues.

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James with his wife Sam.

"If you look at what so many people have come out and said following James’ death you get a good idea of how much he meant to people,” Robert said.

"Everybody he met he had such a positive impact on. He was always kind, always considerate, he never gave us any trouble and he never said a bad word about anybody.

"He was his own man. He always came home for Christmas and never missed a birthday, but he moved to Sheffield for univiersity when he was 18 and has made a life for himself there ever since.”

James Eardley passed away on Monday.

James moved to Sheffield from his family home in Nantwich, and upon his graduation he worked a variety of jobs including at Sheffield Students’ Union and for Exposed Magazine. He lived in Sharrow Vale.

However, it was after this, when his dad retired, that the pair decided to do something together and the thing for which James is best remembered was born.

James and Robert set up the Ale Club, brewing their own beer and then running their own micropub. A few years down the line it was so successful they opened their second pub in Fulwood.

James Eardley

Aided in its running by James’ wife Sam and mum Lynda, Robert said the Ale Club was a ‘team effort’ from the family, with James at the helm.

“The Ale Club came out of a shared passion for beer,” he said. “It started as a drunken conversation about doing something together when I retired.

"It was James who came up with the beers and their names. He was very creative. I was just happy working with him and talking to him every day.

"It was all very exciting and we are so proud of it. James and Sam worked together doing the decor and finding all the nic-nacs and it really reflected James’ personality.

James Eardley in Ecclesall Ale Club

"Sam, with a little help from me and lots of help from his amazing loyal staff will be carrying on the Ale Club. It is James’ legacy,” Robert added.

Lynda said that James never let his cancer get him down and made the most of every moment of his life, whether he was ill or not.

"After his diagnosis he went to Las Vegas with Sam and they got married,” she said. “They drove down to death valley and then ended up in San Francisco.

"They bought a mobile home in Abersoch and spent every spare minute they had down there, making lovely lasting memories for Sam.

"He was so incredibly positive the whole time. He was such an upbeat person.”

James was treated at Weston Park hospital, and his family praised staff there for their ‘incredible’ care. During his years of treatment, James raised a lot of money for the hospital.

"Any money from his funeral will go towards Weston Park as well,” Lynda added.

James died around 5pm on Monday, July 19, at home with his family.

He is survived by Robert, Lynda and Sam, as well as his sister Alexandra, her daughter Molly, and Sam’s mum Eileen and brother Steven.