Treasured photographs chart 40 year friendship that Burnley MP formed with fellow politicians united in their quest to end apartheid in South Africa

Their different political persuasions was no barrier to their strong friendship that lasted four decades after they met as new MPs on the same day.

Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 3:44 pm
Former Burnley MP Peter Pike, who died last week at the age of 84, with his friends and fellow politician Alistair Burt (left) and Simon Hughes with a nurse at Crossroads clinic in Cape Town, South Africa in 1986

That was the view of former MP Alistair Burt about his friendship with former long standing Burnley MP and Labour politician Peter Pike who died last week at the age of 84.

Mr Burt, who was the Conservative MP for Bury North from 1983 to 1997, said: "Peter Pike and I became MPs on the same day as each other in 1983.

"By chance we sat together in the gallery overlooking the state opening a few days later, and soon discovered the truth that MPs from different parties often share much more than many outsiders would realise.

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Former Burnley MP Peter Pike (centre) with fellow politicians and friends Simon Hughes (left) and Alistair Burt

"Bury and Burnley were not far apart, and our constituents faced similar problems, which led to conversation and friendship before long.

"That friendship was cemented in our mutual interest in South Africa, our desire to see change there, and our desire to work with others, in whatever small way we could, to see that change come about.

"Peter’s heart for South Africa, and his quarter of a century support for the Anti-Apartheid movement before he set foot there, gave him a political stature from black township to white Cabinet room.

"His profound and sincere Christian faith was evident from the way he maintained his contacts in South Africa for a lifetime afterwards, and sharing a fellowship with Simon Hughes MP and myself for the rest of his days.

"He lost no opportunity in the Commons either to defend his constituents against any Government, and advocate loudly for them, for Burnley and Burnley FC!

"Peter Pike graced public life at home and abroad with heart and soul, and I am proud to have been his friend and colleague. "

Mr Pike's funeral will be held on Thursday next week (January 13th) with a service at St Peter's Church at 10-30am followed a committal at Burnley Crematorium at 12-15pm.

A huge Clarets fan, the cortege will pass Turf Moor on the way to the church and Burnley Town Hall en route to the crematorium.

For the many friends Peter had around the world who will not be able to attend the funeral there will be a live stream on the St Peter's facebook page.Tributes have continued to flood in for the former Labour Party politician who served as MP for Burnley from 1983 to 2005 after joining the party in 1956.