Tributes have been paid to an honoured community servant who passed away this week aged 85.
Grandfather-of-three Alan Whalley, from Great Harwood, passed away at home on Sunday surrounded by his family, after a battle with leukemia.
Alan founded Great Harwood’s Community Action Group and University of the Third Age at Trinity Church, a social learning group for retired people (U3A).
He also served as a rotarian at Great Harwood and Rishton Rotary Club for over 40 years, was a former governor at Norden High School in Rishton, served on the town’s Civic Society, and also acted as adviser to the Norden Young Enterprise companies.
His ‘outstanding service to the community’ was recognised by Hyndburn council in 2014 when he was presented with a special Ruby Award.
Peter Holden, president of the Great Harwood Civic Society, said Alan had left ‘a legacy in the town’.
He said: “He really has been a great servant to Great Harwood and one of the final things he did was to set up the U3A, which now has about 150 members.
"All these things are a testament to him and his legacy in a way. He was a great fella and a great bloke and will be sadly missed.”
Ward councillor Noordad Aziz said he was a ‘great inspiration’ after meeting him at Norden High School in 1999.
He said: “He really inspired me from a young age. He really made a massive difference shaping what I wanted to do.
"He has been a stalwart of Great Harwood and dedicated himself to the town and the betterment of it.”
Patrick McGinley, president of Great Harwood and Rishton Rotary Club, said they are all ‘deeply saddened by his death’.
He said: “He was a giant of a man who has done so much over so many years for the community of Great Harwood.”
Norden High School headteacher Tim Mitchell said he was a ‘highly respected member of the local community’.
He said: “He was passionate about supporting the needs of the young people of Great Harwood and Rishton, and took a keen interest in activities such as Young Enterprise and mock interviews. He will be sorely missed.”
In a statement, his family said: “Alan’s wife Kathleen and daughters Fiona and Kathryn are heartbroken that Alan has now died. He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather.
"He was a big man who has touched the lives and hearts of hundreds of people through his services to the community.
“At home he was a warm, kind and loyal family man who supported his loved ones through happy and sad times.
“He was the wise and reasoning counsellor to many.
“He had an abiding love of walking in the countryside, reading, playing with new technology, learning and talking.
“He loved life and his enthusiasm for life was infectious. He leaves a big space in our hearts.”
A funeral service will take place at Trinity URC Church in Great Harwood on Wednesday, November 23, at 12.15pm.