Burnley Red Cross headquarters to close

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BURNLEY is set to lose its permanent British Red Cross presence in the town, officially opened by royalty 10 years ago.

The charity, which has had various homes in Burnley over the decades, has put its headquarters at the historic Lady Towneley House in Manchester Road up for sale.

The Queen’s cousin, Princess Alexandra, officially opened the offices in 2002, which were named after the late president of the organisation, Lady Mary Towneley, who died the previous year.

Falling staff numbers – there are now just two full-time members based there – were given as the reason to sell the building.

Mr Kevin Place, the emergency resources service manager in Burnley, said: “Sadly there are just two of us left now, and we are rattling round a building that could hold 20 staff members.

“It makes no sense for the charity to continue here and is sadly a waste of resources. I will eventually be transferred to Preston and the presence will end when my colleague Hayley Walker’s future is decided.

“However, there will be no effect on services in Burnley. We still have a very good group of volunteers and of course our Red Cross shop.

“We will also continue to hold our centre meetings when we have found a suitable place.”

The charity moved to the 1860s built former pawnbrokers, fabric merchants and retirement home in 2001, three years after its offices in the more central location of Parker Lane closed.

The Express reported that many people were aware of the Red Cross, but not of the services it provided in this country.

Mr Place added: “Thankfully, we have not had much direct call for our services in Burnley, as we tend to operate a reactive service in disasters.

“For instance we helped emergency services at the recent gas explosion at Shaw in Oldham where our vehicles provided equipment, clothing and refreshment. Our volunteers also provided emotional support for those people who had been evacuated.

“We have also recently helped out at severed flooding in the Preston area and at the Preston Guild. In Burnley, Hayley often gave talks about humanitarian issues at schools and colleges. I have really enjoyed my time working in Burnley, but services will continue in the town despite the eventual closure of our branch headquarters.”