Tributes flood in for former long serving MP who kept his promise to 'at all times fight for Burnley and its residents'
Warm tributes continue to flow in for the former Burnley MP Peter Pike who died yesterday in hospital at the age of 84.
The former Labour Party politician served as MP for Burnley from 1983 to 2005 after joining the party in 1956.
In 2002, he announced his intention to retire as an MP at the next general election.
In December 2013, his role in the Anti-Apartheid Movement was praised in Parliament during tributes to former anti apartheid activist and President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Mr Pike made several visits to South Africa from 1986 to 1990.
Paying tribute to Peter on Twitter after news of his death was announced yesterday Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who is the Speaker of the House of Commons and MP for Chorley since 1997, said: "Very sad news hearing of the death of Peter.
"He was Labour through and through, a great MP for Burnley. Thoughts are with his family."
Peter's immediate successor after he stepped down was Kitty Ussher and, in her own tribute she described him as a 'valued advisor and trusted confidante.'
Mrs Ussher, who went on to become Treasury minister, is a former chief executive of the Demos think tank, who is now chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said: " I worked very closely with Peter from 2003-10.
"He was immensely kind, hard working and supportive, personally and professionally. In the good times, he was a stalwart. In the difficult times he was a valued advisor and trusted confidante, always available.
"I enjoyed his company and his sense of humour, acted on his advice and admired his commitment and hard work for the community that we both loved."
"When Peter gave his maiden speech as the newly elected MP for Burnley in 1983 he promised "at all times to fight for Burnley and its residents"
"He did all of that and more, not just in his tireless work as a constituency MP for 22 years, but in also in the years that followed, as the driving force behind the establishment of Emmaus Burnley, as chairman of the Clarets Trust, in his leadership of Burnley Labour Party and in everyday acts of kindness that earned him trust and respect from the huge numbers of people who knew him."
"In Parliament he served as a front-bench spokesperson for Labour in the early 1990s, on both rural and environment policy and told me with great pride how some of the policy work he had been part of at that time was later enacted by the subsequent Labour government.
"When I entered parliament in 2005, his reputation amongst other MPs was of a very active and effective parliamentarian and experienced committee member, most notably as chair of the Committee on Regulatory Reform from 2001-05.
"When he promised as a new MP in 1983 to at all times fight for Burnley, he expressed his hope that, in return, that he would justify the confidence that Burnley's residents had placed in him.
"He need have no doubt about that.
"He had an important place at the heart of the community and our thoughts and prayers are with his daughters Jane and Carol and all who loved and miss him."
Burnley's Mayor Councillor Mark Townsend, who is also a Labour councillor, praised Peter as a 'great campaigner for the vulnerable and less fortunate' saying: "Peter loved Burnley and was devoted to making it a better place when in elected office or not.
"He was a great sounding board for many, including myself. The town and the organisations he supported are poorer today for the loss of his insight and wisdom."
In June this year Peter received a special medal in recognition of his long-standing voluntary service to homelessness charity Emmaus Burnley which he founded.
Peter played a leading role in the charity’s creation and growth within the town where it continues to help formerly homeless people by providing a home, work, training and individual support.