Burnley pharmacist dies on holiday in Spain

Jim Garrett
Jim Garrett

THE man who set up the UK’s first pharmacy attached to a health centre has died at the age of 83.

Mr Jim Garrett suffered a brain haemorrhage while on holiday in Benalmadena in Spain. He died in hospital in Malaga with his wife, Susan and two sons John and Ken, at his bedside.

Born in Burnley’s Lowerhouse, Mr Garrett started his working life on the railways but had to give it up as the coal and various chemicals he had to work with aggravated his condition. It was a chance conversation between Mr Garrett’s father and the local chemist, Mr Stackhouse, that prompted him to enter the profession.

Mr Garrett’s daughter, Cathy, who also flew out to Spain to be with her dad before he died, said: “My dad wasn’t working and Mr Stackhouse asked his dad if he was any good at chemistry. My grandad said he was pretty clever at every subject so he started working as an apprentice and he qualifed as a chemist in 1949. The original shop has always been in Rosegrove Lane and my dad took over the business from Mr Stackhouse after he retired.’’

As the business had been established for over 100 years, Mr Garrett kept the original name until he formed a business partnership with Mr Edmund Bailey in the 1950s and the business Bailey and Garrett was born.

When Kiddrow Lane Health Centre was opened in 1973 the duo opened a pharmacy there, the first in the country within a health centre. Mr Garrett, who lived in Hapton, ran the health centre business and Mr Bailey, who is now in his late 80s and living in a retirement home, ran the Rosegrove Lane shop. Mr Garrett loved his job and and became a well known face in the area.

Cathy, who was born in the flat above the Rosegrove Lane shop, added: “Dad absolutely loved going to work, he enjoyed meeting people and helping them. He retired in the early 80s but he would still like to go into work. He would put on his white coat and say I am just bobbing into work.’’

Mr Garrett’s first wife, Audrey, died in 1986 and a year later Cathy took over at the helm of the business as head pharmacist after she graduated from university. Her brothers are also shareholders in the company.

A keen follower of Lowerhouse Cricket Club, Mr Garrett loved all sports and enjoyed going on holiday. He was also a keep golfer and a member of Burnley Golf Club where he was involved in organising competitions and matches.

A funeral service and cremation is due to take place in Benalmadena but the family are planning to hold a memorial service in Burnley soon.