The Pope has made an award to former Hyndburn MP Ken Hargreaves MBE after it was revealed he is seriously ill in hospital.
Mr Hargreaves, who was MP between 1983 and 1992, has been awarded a Knighthood of St Gregory by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in recognition of his lifetime commitment to the pro-life cause and his service to his local community.
Mr Hargreaves said he was deeply moved to receive the award, but dedicated it to anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia campaigners.
He added: "Every life is unique, every life is precious - and we must renew our efforts to stop the terrible tide of killing, what Pope John Paul called ‘the culture of death’, and learn again to cherish and uphold the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death."
Prayers were sent to Mr Hargreaves, who is president of numerous local charities, at the recent full council meeting.
Council leader Miles Parkinson said Mr Hargreaves, 73, had made friends across all political parties during his service to Hyndburn.
He added: "Ken has served this borough with distinction as district councillor, mayor and MP. Our prayers go out to him."
Mr Hargreaves, of Hippings Vale, Oswaldtwistle, was a local councillor from 1965 to 1984, serving as mayor in 1979 and an altar server at St Mary’s, Oswaldtwistle for more than six decades.
He was awarded the MBE in 2007 and the Freedom of the Borough in December 2010.