Much-loved community veteran dubbed 'Burnley's street angel' dies aged 93

Mary Pickles
Mary Pickles

A great-grandmother who spent her nights helping Burnley's drunk clubbers get home safely has died.

Until a few years ago, Mary Pickles donned her Street Pastors’ outfit and went out on patrols to keep the streets of her hometown safe with her lone nightly patrols.

The former postmistress came under the national spotlight for her community work as she swept up broken glass, gave out chocolate, provided flip-flops to shoe-less girls having trouble with their high-heels and helped drunken youngsters to find a taxi home. She was part of the Street Pastors’ team since it was established in 2009, despite being told by her grown-up five grandchildren that life on the streets was too dangerous!

In June 2014 she was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Burnley and Maundy Money by Her Majesty The Queen. She was also invited to Queen's garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2015.

She died earlier this month with her family beside her after a short illness.

Mrs Pickles and her husband, William, ran post offices at Lowerhouse and in Cog Lane, Burnley, before retiring to Fleetwood in 1985. They had only been there a month when he died, so she moved back to live in Cliviger where she had friends, and began attending Mount Zion Independent Methodist Church.

For the last 20 years, Mrs Pickles was involved in charity work with the Gateway Club for the handicapped and she also set up a Christian Bookshop with a counselling room.

Above all, she said being a “Street Angel”, as she was known, gave her a lot of satisfaction.

She is survived by her son, William, her daughter-in-law Sandra, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held on October 15th at Mount Zion Church, Cliviger, at 10-30am followed by a service at Burnley crematorium at noon.