Burnley social housing champion dies

HOUSING CHAMPION: Alf Norris (S)
HOUSING CHAMPION: Alf Norris (S)

A CHAMPION of social housing and charity work for the elderly has died at the age of 84.

Mr Alf Norris devoted his life to improving homes in the area and continued his work in retirement.

He left school at 14 and in later life gained an Open University degree, became Burnley’s housing manager, was presented to Prince Charles at St James’s Palace for his voluntary work with the Abbeyfield Society and named as the Chartered Institute of Housing North-West’s Housing Hero in recognition of his expertise in the field and his kind manner.

Mr Norris joined Burnley Borough Council in 1964 and later became housing manager, retiring after 25 years 1989. He and his first wife, Elsie, attended Ightenhill Church and were members of the choir.

In addition to his work with housing and town planning bodies Mr Norris worked voluntarily as a regional co-ordinator for the National Housing Forum and was known for his charity work with Age Concern Lancashire as well as being a member of the West Burnley Probus Club and the management team of Abbeyfield Care Homes. He supported the Garrick Theatre and the Burnley Light Opera Society and enjoyed travel, particularly in Italy.

Mr Norris married June Seddon, wife of the late Rev. Peter Seddon, in 1992 and had a happy retirement until giving up most of his interests because of ill-health and becoming wheelchair-bound in 2008. He died in hospital a few days before his 85th birthday and leaves his wife, two sons and five step-children. A service in celebration of his life was held on Wednesday at Padiham Road Methodist Church, following his funeral at Burnley Crematorium.

Former MP Peter Pike paid tributes to Mr Norris: “He was a man who had extreme concern and care for the people living in Burnley’s Council housing, a great supporter of the provision of sheltered housing for elderly and also committed to plans to create more suitable housing for people with disabilities. He was well respected at both regional and national level and I remember unveiling a plaque with him when the new housing was opened on the former Trafalgar flats site.