Burnley garage owner dies

OBIT: Ernie Kay
OBIT: Ernie Kay

A GARAGE owner who had a life-long passion for motorbikes has died at the age of 86.

Mr Ernie Kay founded the Burnley firm of Vale Garages and, until three years ago, loved nothing more than a Sunday morning ride to Kirkby Lonsdale to chat with fellow biking enthusiasts.

Mr Kay served his time as a mechanic at Holden and Hartleys after doing National Service and in 1956 started out in business in Foundry Street, Burnley. A few years later he was obliged to find alternative accommodation when the garage site was compulsorily purchased for a development that never happened, and the move into the old Cowburn’s pop works, in Abinger Street, became a permanent home.

Today it is still the headquarters of the firm which also has premises in Colne Road.

He ran the family firm for 30 years until he was 58 when he was obliged to take a back seat after a heart attack, but he remained on hand to offer guidance whenever it was needed.

A Freemason, Mr Kay married his German-born wife, Helga, in 1949 and they devoted their lives together to bringing up their four children. They lived in St John’s Road and in Park Lane before moving to Briercliffe Road and used to enjoy caravanning holidays. Mrs Kay died 18 months ago and he missed her a great deal. He moved into Heather Grange Care Home, near the garage in Colne Road, and died there on March 6th.

Mr Kay’s funeral was due to take place yesterday at Burnley Crematorium.

The family has asked for donations in his memory to go to Pendleside Hospice.