Tributes paid to community stalwart George

The late George Hardman
The late George Hardman

A well-respected and talented Whalley community stalwart has died aged 83.

George Hardman, who dedicated more than 40 years of his life maintaining the Whalley War Memorial and garden, died on September 11th at Royal Blackburn Hospital. More recently he prepared the graves for visiting relatives in the former Calderstones Cemetery and was the proud recipient of BBC’s Star Award for his efforts.

George came from a family of five, born and brought up in Blackburn. He attended the town’s Technical High School and there followed an apprenticeship at Whitebirk Power Station, before completing his National Service in Singapore. He then went to work at Huncoat Power Station for 12 years.

George and his wife, Ida, who he married in 1955, moved into Mitton Road, Whalley, in 1964 and ran a general store from their front room for eight years. George worked at Calderstones Hospital for over 40 years into his eighties mainly as a maintenance employee.

A true community-spirited individual, in his late seventies and over a period of six years he campaigned for a neglected war memorial in the grounds of Blackburn Cathedral to be restored to its original condition as all the names had virtually deteriorated. Amongst these names was an actual relative – Daniel Ashton, aged only 18, when killed in the First World War. George was invited as guest of honour when all was completed and to a full military service when unveiled.

A gifted individual, he spent 15 years creating a model of Whalley Abbey and a wooden memorial dedicated to the men who lost their lives in the First World War. In 1981, Prince Charles visited Calderstones Hospital and George made a wooden model of his favourite horse “Good Prospect”. He was delighted when invited to present it to the royal visitor personally.

His hobbies included boxing, gardening, pets, chess, boating, walking in the countryside and constantly working on his home and others.

His friend, Mel Diack MBE, said: “George did so much community work behind the scenes and would help anyone. He will be missed by his loving family, friends, neighbours and the community.”

George leaves Ida, daughter Val and son-in-law David, as well as grandchildren, Jasmine and Jake.