Former Burnley Mayor dies

FATHER OF THE COUNCIL: Arthur Park (s)

FATHER OF THE COUNCIL: Arthur Park (s)

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A FORMER mayor who left a lasting legacy to Burnley residents has died at the age of 90.

Arthur Park represented the Brunshaw area for 22 years, and for 15 years was chairman of the Recreation and Leisure Committee.

It was in that capacity that he battled for people in Burnley to have free access to Towneley Hall, which he called the “Jewel in the Crown”. Mr Park was the father of the council and the oldest member ever to become the town’s first citizen. He was asked to become mayor for a second time the following year when his successor was forced to resign in disgrace.

Mr Park and his wife, Eileen, became Mayor and Mayoress in 1995, when he was 75 and she 71, and it was also the year they celebrated their golden wedding.

One of the highlights of their special year was an audience with the Pope. They were having a short holiday in Rome when they received a surprise invitation from the Vatican as a thank you for hospitality shown to the Pope’s representative in Britain who had been at St Mary’s in Burnley, the Parks’ parish church, a fortnight earlier.

Mr Park was a devout Catholic and a Grand Knight of the Order of the Knights of St Columba. He was the first person in Burnley to be appointed Deputy Grand Knight of East Lancashire, and was also chairman and president of the KSC 110 Club in Yorkshire Street.

Mr and Mrs Park had been married for 65 years. They met at the Empress Ballroom when he was on leave from the RAF. On returning to civilian life after the Second World War Mr Park worked at Joshua Hoyle and Sons cotton mill in Plumbe Street where he became foreman in the preparation department and was elected as president of the Burnley branch of the Amalgamated Association of Beamers, Twisters and Drawers.

He was also an enthusiastic sportsman, a keen footballer and referee, angler and snooker players, but he could never swim. He learned when he was 60, because he wanted to be able to take care of two grandsons he took fishing.

Mr Park joined the Labour Party when he started work in the textile industry and was first elected to the Council in 1976. He was also interested in education and served on the governing body of every Catholic school in the town.

He had been in hospital since the new year and died in Pendle Community Hospital on Monday. The funeral is on Thursday, February 9th. There will be a Requiem Mass at St Mary’s at 1 p.m. followed by interment in Burnley Cemetery at 2-15 p.m. As well as his wife Mr Park leaves three children, 19 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. The family has asked for anyone making a donation in his memory to give it to a charity of their own choice.