Tributes have been paid to a father who served in the Special Constabulary for more than 30 years.
Father-of-two Brian Wilkinson served the Accrington community as a special for 35 years, rising to achieve the rank of Chief Commandant of Lancashire.
He sadly passed away on January 28 at Burnley General Hospital, aged 79.
His wife Stella, who lived with Brian in Accrington, described him as a true ‘people person’ who joined the force to help others.
She said: “When our first daughter was born in 1960, Brian decided that he would look to join the special constables.
“He joined in 1962 when he was 25 years old. He decided because we had two daughters he wanted to make it a better place for them so he started going out on duty. He did it to help people”
Stella and Brian met in 1954 when she was 17. Together they would go out with a group of friends to the local dance hall and the races, and became engaged a year later.
The couple enjoyed a happy marriage after tying the knot in 1957.
Brian, who had previously served in the RAF, was promoted to sergeant in the specials in 1967, and then to inspector in 1969. By 1995 he had risen to the highest rank of Chief Commandant.
Stella said: “He had the best of both worlds and so did we. He looked after his family and he also looked after other people, he was a people person. And we supported him.”
Brian was also heavily involved with St Paul’s Church, and acted as a sidesman there for many years as well as leading Sunday school parties.
Aside from his volunteering, Brian had a successful career working at firms English Electric, Darwen Tool Company and Shorrock Security Systems.
However he sadly suffered a serious stroke following his retirement in 1996 which left him incapacitated and in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
But despite the stroke he enjoyed another 17 years with his family, hand-making sledges and go-karts for his grandchildren and letting them play in his motorised wheelchair.
Stella said: “Whatever he did he always gave 100 per cent and he enjoyed the time that we have all spent together.
“His passing is going to leave a huge hole in all our lives.”
Brian leaves wife Stella, daughters Jill and Anne, son-in-law David, seven grandchildren and their partners, and three great-grandchildren.
Brian’s funeral will take place on Tuesday, February 9 at St Paul’s Church in Oswaldtwistle at 10.30am, led by the Reverend John Holland, followed by a cremation at Accrington Crematorium at 11.40am.