Burnley baker and Parkinson’s UK stalwart dies

Hans Ruge (s)
Hans Ruge (s)

A DEVOTED family man who lived with Parkinson’s disease for 25 years and campaigned tirelessly for improved treatment for sufferers has died aged 74.

Hans Ruge, who was originally from near Hamburg, Germany, died suddenly at home on September 11th.

Despite being German-born, Mr Ruge spent most of his life in England and considered himself a Burnley man, his family said.

A master baker, Mr Ruge worked at BSK Bakeries in Burnley before opening his own bakery in Oswaldtwistle, which he had for a number of years.

He retired in 1996 and joined the Burnley branch of Parkinson’s UK to which he was dedicated.

His daughter, Heidi, said: “He threw himself into the Parkinson’s society. He helped them with fund-raising and campaigned for a dedicated Parkinson’s nurse for Burnley.”

Mr Ruge, whose wife Lynda died in 2008, lived in Colne Road, Reedley, before moving to Pike Hill.

He was a regular at Burnley’s Rhode Island coffee shop where he played the mouth organ for customers on open-mic nights and Heidi said his condition did not stop him doing the things he loved. He was a keen chess player and enjoyed meeting new people, learning languages and watching Formula 1 racing.

“He was really motivated despite the Parkinson’s. It must have been so frustrating for him, just moving around.

“He didn’t ever complain about it, he always put himself forward for medical testing at the hospital. He was very positive about his condition.

“He found the local group a great support.”

Mr Ruge leaves daughters Heidi and Renate, sons Mark and Franz and grandson Harry.

“He was a very loving dad,” said Heidi. “Always very charming, he was hard-working and entrepreneurial.”

Mr Ruge’s funeral will take place on tomorrow at noon at Burnley Crematorium.

His family has requested donations be made to the local branch of the Parkinson’s Society through Parkinson’s UK.