Claude was born on the 19th October 1962 in Islington North London to Aldo and Pierina Callegari. Claude was an only child and consequently spoilt by his beloved mum - he remained the apple of her eye until her passing in 2009.
Being born in Islington, he soon developed a love for football and so began the biggest passion in his life. More about his beloved Arsenal later on. The family moved to Edmonton, North London in the 70's where Claude attended Alyward School.
Claude became a father in 1986 to a bonny baby girl, Leanne - he was just as obsessed with her as he was with his football albeit he didn't have a clue what to do with her. His one and only attempt at changing her nappy resulted in him being traumatised when he discovered that her mum had put her in a Spurs vest! Claude was very proud that his only child was a mini-me look alike and talked endlessly to her about Arsenal - she usually fell asleep within 5 minutes!
In March 2009, Claude became a grandfather for the first time. Again Claude adored his new little granddaughter which was a bitter sweet event for him due to losing his mum only 8 weeks before. Claude never came to terms with losing his mum and the disappointment that she never got to enjoy her grandchildren, made it unbearably painful at times.
It is well documented that Claude suffered from depression throughout his adult years. He was always open and honest about his stays in hospital, the many cries for help and the vicious cycle he found himself in. Being the independent and stubborn person that he was, it was incredibly hard supporting him as he would often refuse the help. Claude often said that if talking about it helped one person, then that was one person helped.
First and foremost Claude was a football fan. Once he set his cap at Arsenal's door, his passion for the club grew and as he became older, he lived and breathed Arsenal, travelling all over the world to watch them play.
Family events were planned around Arsenal fixtures with his grandsons birthday party having to be moved as the FA Cup Final was being played that day. The only game he missed was for his daughter's wedding but of course he was found huddled in a corner with his earphones in.
Claude's legendary rants about how Arsenal played and which he eventually became famous for, started in his teenage years. It was always wise not to place anything too near him when he was watching games on the TV as he'd move forward, the arm would come out, palm up, an incredulous look on his face and 3,2,1 rant!
Claude was a larger than life character. The amount of love and support for the family has been incredible and has been very heartwarming at this time. It is clear how much he was loved and respected by people and the offers of help have reinforced that.
It is the family's intention to lay Claude to rest with his beloved mother in Italy and set up a memorial in his name - which will be based in London.
Once all costs of the funeral, interment in Italy and the memorial has been established, any remaining monies will be used to support Claude's grandchildren and continue his legacy.
Any support will be gratefully received.
- John Cooper
Organizer and beneficiary
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