Former Burnley MP Peter Pike is to step down as chairman of the Burnley Labour Party – ending an active involvement with the party going back 60 years.
The respected figure, who first joined the local party in 1956, announced he would not be seeking re-election as chairman as he approaches his 79th birthday.
The borough’s MP from 1983 to 2005 has said he will remain a party member.
Mr Pike said: “I will be 79 in a few months time and have held one office or another in the party since 1958, having joined in 1956.
“I believe that the party needs a younger and much more active chairman to lead the campaign against this appalling Tory Government.
“David Cameron is destroying local government and our health service and many people are paying a harsh price for the worst Tory Government I have ever seen.
“Whilst I will obviously miss my role in the party, time does move on and I believe it is right to stand down in this way and at this time.”
Burnley’s current Labour MP Julie Cooper paid tribute to Mr Pike who she said had “always been there.”
Mrs Cooper said: “Peter has given fantastic service to the party over many years. It seems like he has always been there.
“However, all good things must come to an end. We will miss him hugely, he’s been a wise leader to us all for as long as I can remember.”
Burnley Council leader Coun. Mark Townsend said Mr Pike’s replacement would have “huge boots to fill.”
He added: “I would like to thank Peter for his massive contribution to Burnley, and especially its people, over the years.
“His contribution to the Labour movement generally over the decades cannot be overestimated.
“He’s a sad loss. Peter’s replacement will be discussed at the group’s AGM in February when there will be a vote.
“Whoever we elect will have huge boots to fill.”