Dale Clarke, who played for Forest Hill FC, leaves behind fiancee Paige King, 24, and his six-year-old son Cole

Dale Clarke’s fiancee Paige King is due to give birth in one month

A footballer who was expecting to become a dad for the second time has died after a battle against penis cancer.

Dale Clarke, who played for Forest Hill FC, passed away at the weekend aged just 26.

The keen sportsman had part of his penis removed and was convinced he would soon lose it altogether following the shock diagnosis in July 2017 after discovering a lump.

He underwent five operations, nine rounds of radiotherapy and two rounds of chemotherapy – but the tumours keep coming back.

Dale earlier this year revealed he no longer had any sensation in his penis and said: “They could cut it all off and it wouldn’t bother me, that’s how far past it I am.”

He leaves behind heartbroken fiancee Paige King, 24, six-year-old son Cole and an unborn baby daughter who is due next month.

Tragic Dale leaves behind his six-year-old son Cole and an unborn daughter he’ll never meet

Dale and Paige announced they were expecting their second child and held an engagement party in April as they planned their dream Las Vegas wedding.

But their dreams were shattered when Dale’s cancer became more aggressive and he was confined to a hospice bed.

Coach Tim Hutchinson – who worked with Dale for a decade – has led the tributes to a “lovable scoundrel” who lived life to the full, according to Chronicle Live .

The talented young football player’s life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with penile cancer following the discovery of a lump

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He said: “Dale was a really funny lad and a lovely kid. He would do anything for you.

“He was a larger than life character. He would give you his last penny if you needed it.

“Dale was such a lovable scoundrel. He broke every rule we made but then he’d give you a cuddle and say sorry. To me, he was a mate as well.

The young dad planned a dream Las Vegas wedding with fiancee Paige, but spend his final days confined to a hospice bed

Dale, pictured with son Cole, had part of his penis amputated during his cancer fight

“He put a lot into his life in the short time he was with us. That’s why it’s been such a devastating year, the last week has just been awful.”

Newcastle United fan Dale was born and raised in North Tyneside, and enjoyed a close bond with mam Kerry, dad Dave, brother Adam, 24, and sister Nikki, 28.

Tim, 55, who works as a senior development officer at Forest Hall FC, said: “Dale was a designer kid – he loves his clothes and trainers. He would not want anything without a label.

Paige is due to give birth to a baby girl next month, Dale’s second child

“He used to have the worst hairstyles in the world, and it was always a different colour. We always used to ask him what he was thinking.

“He was similar in stature with Becks and wonderful technically with the ball at his feet. He was immensely popular in the changing room.

“Dale always used to have the brightest boots too. He was known as Mr Stone Island.”

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But Dale’s lifestyle of football, socialising and spending time with Paige and his son was thrown into turmoil by his rare cancer diagnosis.

Brave Dale underwent five operations, nine rounds of radiotherapy and two rounds of chemotherapy

Penile cancer most commonly affects men over the age of 50, and the self-employed joiner underwent operations and sessions of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to battle the disease.

Against all odds, Dale and Paige were delighted to be told they were expecting their “miracle baby”, and the proud couple enjoyed an engagement party in Newcastle just last month.

The young family were also due to move in to a new home soon, but Dale tragically spent the last weeks of his life confined to a hospice bed before his death.

Coach Tim says Dale remained determined to lace up his football boots throughout his illness, in spite of the doctor’s warnings about his rapidly deteriorating health.

An ultrasound scan showing the baby girl who will grow up never knowing her daddy

He added: “Dale was so determined not to let it win. Because he was so determined and who he was, if anyone was going to beat this it would be Dale.

“He used to still join in with the warm-ups, and he wanted to put a pair of boots on again.

“Even though it was an aggressive cancer and after they told him it was terminal, he said he was going to last as long as he could and make it fight.

“I still think people were expecting him to get up and be fine. We all had the impression this is Dale Clarke – he is going to defy logic and beat it.”

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News of Dale’s death broke just a day before Forest Hall FC’s cup final on bank holiday Monday but his grieving team-mates decided to take to the pitch in his memory.

Coach Tim Hutchinson – who worked with Dale for a decade – described him as a “lovable scoundrel” who lived life to the full

The team emerged victorious in the Bill Gardner Cup with a 2-1 win over Hazlerigg, and coach Tim struggled to put into words the emotion which spilled over following the final whistle.

He said: “I’ve never experienced anything like it. The lads wanted to play and win it for Dale, and after the match I’ve never seen emotion like it.

“It’s difficult to put into words, everybody was saying it was for Dale. It has not sunk in at all.

“I think for the older guys maybe it has, but for the younger ones I don’t think that will happen until after the funeral because it’s still so raw.”

A funeral date has not yet been set, and a JustGiving page to support Dale’s fiancee and children has already received more than £6,500.

Tim said: “The family don’t want anyone turning up in black on the day. It will be a sad occasion, but they want people to celebrate his life.”

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