Michael Barrett | Mohammed KhanJames H. Hirst | Sheila Williams | Zamir Khan | Salim Mulla  
 Alan Cottam | ​​Faryad Hussain | Hussain Akhtar | Colin Rigby | Pat McFall | Jim Shorrock | Iftakhar Hussain
Antony Humphreys​ | David Foster​Councillor Maureen McGarvey | Yusuf Jan-Virmani | Derek Hardman  
Dorothy Walsh |​​ Karimeh Foster | John Williams | Suleman K​honat | Parwaiz Akhtar | Brian Taylor​​

​John Williams​​
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen in 2001/2002
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John was born in Blackburn and educated at St. Peter’s School (now St Wilfrid’s) and began work in Blackburn before joining the International Scholl Company; training at their School of Chiropody in London. He managed various branches throughout the Country before entering Teacher Training College in 1970. He began his teaching career at St Francis School, Cherry Tree became Deputy Head at Coupe Green, Hoghton and Headteacher at St Paul’s, Hoddlesden. 

John became a local Councillor in 1990 representing the Livesey with Pleasington Ward. He served as Shadow Spokesman on various committees of the Council including Direct Services, Community and Leisure Services, Housing and Education and has held office as Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group. He has been involved in the Standing Advisory Committee for R.E at County and Unitary levels. He is married to Sheila and has one daughter, Megan who works in London. He was an active sportsman and has won gold medals in the Veteran British Athletic Championships as a member of Blackburn Harriers. Other sporting interests include badminton and supporting Blackburn Rovers.

Councillor Antony "Tony" Humphreys​

 Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 2002-03

Tony was born in Hackney in 1944; the family moved to Luton then Darwen before arriving in Blackburn in the 1950's. Tony attended Audley Secondary School and enlisted in the third Anglian Regiment serving all over the world. He returned to the area and worked at Lower Darwen paper mill until its closure in 1991 where he had been the union representative. Also, in 1991, he became a councillor for Shadsworth and started work as a postman becoming the union representative at the Canterbury Street sorting office.

Tony married his former sweetheart Jackie in the council chamber just a few months before becoming the mayor. They had been engaged at the age of sixteen but broke up - Tony joined the army and they both married other partners. Ten years ago they got together again and between them had nine children and fourteen grandchildren. Tony kept working during his year of office despite having a diary of four hundred events. There were also three royal visits which included a visit to the East Lancashire Hospice by Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex. Tony also enjoyed a visit to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen during one of her Golden Jubilee Garden Parties.

Much of the above information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated 17th. of May 2002 and the 15th. of May 2003. Compiled by Janet Burke.

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Councillor Michael Barrett

Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen 2003-04

Michael had dedicated himself for more than twenty five years to those struggling in poverty which earned him a nation wide reputation. He was an advocate of adult education after leaving school himself with no qualifications. Michael was born on the 14th. of February 1949 and grew up in Oxford Street, attending St. Matthews Church of England Primary School followed by Audley Secondary School which he left at the age of fifteen. He then, in the evenings, studied English language and commerce at Blackburn College which proved to be a spark for a distinguished academic and political career.

At the age of twenty nine he started a three year degree course at Preston Polytechnic and in 1982 graduated with a 2:1 BA Honours degree in Social Policy. He studied for more degrees with a BA in Social History and a Masters in Criminal Justice. These qualifications took him to work as a Housing Officer and part-time lecturer in London, Liverpool and Blackpool. He was a real fighter against injustice and stood up for those he represented - he was recognised nationally for lobbying the Government to combat poverty and spent the majority of his life working in housing especially with the homeless and voluntary groups. Michael was elected a councillor in Darwen in 1976 and had been chairman of finance, vice-chairman of housing, lead member for resources and anti-poverty strategy co-ordinator
Michael was a devoted family man, married to Moira and they had six children although two sadly died and they also adopted two of their grandchildren. Michael died whilst still in office in May 2004 at the age of fifty five.
Much of the above information is from articles in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph dated the 16th. of May 2003 and the 25th. of May 2004.
​Compiled by Janet Burke.

David Foster​​
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen 2004-05

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Born in Blackburn in 1949, but lived in Darwen for virtually all his life. York. Educated at Holy Trinity Primary School, Darwen, Darwen Grammar School (where he was Head Boy) and Kings College, Cambridge University.  He graduated in Natural Sciences (Chemistry) in 1971 and trained for teaching at the University of York.

He has spent his professional life as a Science teacher.  He started his career at Witton Park High School, Blackburn and ibecame Assistant Head & Head of Science at Penwortham Girls' High School.

Councillor Foster became involved with politics from an early age.  His grandfather was Mayor of Darwen in 1963/4.  He was elected as a Councillor for Whitehall Ward, Darwen in 1990 and has served as both Leader and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group serving on most of the Committees of the Council including Education, Finance, Community & Leisure, Direct Services & Social Services.  He also served on the the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee.  His major political interest is in developing and empowering local communities in order to give local people greater control over their own affairs.

Councillor Foster is active in a number of local organisations.  He is a member of Spring Vale Methodist Church and a Local Preacher in Darwen Churches Partnership.  He has a strong interest in sport having played at Darwen Cricket Club in his younger days and is on the committee of Darwen Football Club.  He was a football referee, officiating in the Blackburn Combination, Blackburn Sunday League, North West Counties League and the Central League.  He is interested in music, being a member of the Halle Concert Society and  refers to himself as a struggling amateur guitarist.

He is married with 2 grown-up daughters.  
Compiled from Mayoral Leaflet.

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Councillor Yusuf Jan-Virmani 
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 2005-2006

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Born in Masaka, Uganda in 1955. He spent his teenage years assisting his father with the family business. In 1972 he and his family had to flee their country, leaving behind all their possessions and earnings. They arrived in England with nothing but £50 in their father’s pocket. 

Councillor Jan-Virmani moved to Blackburn in 1973 and studied Architectural Engineering and then took employment as a tax officer. He then assisted his father to set up their first petrol station in 1976 at Bottomgate. The family businesses gained a common name ‘Jan’s.’ In 1998, he set up Jan’s Conference Centre, but decided to devote more time to Council matters and handed over the management of the company to his wife, Sabira. 

In 1994, Councillor Jan-Virmani was elected as a Councillor, representing the Whitebirk Ward. Councillor Jan-Virmani has served as Chairman on Blackburn Transport, Audit Committee and Care and Repair. He has served on numerous committees as the Vice Chairman of Finance, Education/Youth Adult Training, Regeneration/Direct Services, Planning and Highways, and, as the Lead Member of Social Services. He has also served on outside bodies for North West Sports Council, Post-Office and Telecommunications, Prince’s Trust, Audley-Queens Park Surestart Board, E.M.D.A., Indian Workers Association, Blackburn with Darwen Indian Association, Kutchi-Turk Association. He has served on the Board of Blackamoor Special School, now Broadlands (at the time of his year in office) and Daisyfield Primary School. In 2005 he was Chairman of Finance at St. Thomas’ Primary School and was a Trustee of the East Lancashire Hospice. Councillor Jan-Virmani represented the Audley Ward. He has always played an active pivotal role in the community.

His genuine desire to help people and his passion to create unity, has enabled a harmonious spirit to be created in the community. He would like to see and aimed to facilitate a greater understanding between the many cultures that exist in Blackburn. Councillor Jan-Virmani has a keen interest in cars and is a devoted racing enthusiast. He enjoys playing volleyball and travelling. He can speak seven languages. He is married with two children.

Source: Mayoral Leaflet

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Dorothy Walsh​

Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 2006-07

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Dorothy was born in Blackburn, into a family of seven children. She attended St Peter’s in Chains Primary School and then St Anne’s Secondary School on Princess Street, Blackburn, where she passed her scholarship. She should have gone to the Convent, but was unable to go due to unforeseen circumstances.

Dorothy was asked to train as a teacher in the Infants at St Anne’s Primary 
School, but started work at the Cherry Tree Spinning Mill. She worked as a Home Help for Social Services from 1961-1978, and, from 1979-1983 she worked in 
Quality Audit at the Royal Ordnance Factory on Stopes Brow in Lower Darwen. 

Dorothy married Tom and they raised six children. Dorothy who was a widow during her Mayoral year, sadly, also lost a daughter in 2000. 

Prior to becoming Mayor of Blackburn, Dorothy had been a Councillor for Blackburn with Darwen for more than 10 years. Initially, she was elected to the Brownhill Ward in 1994, and then represented Corporation Park Ward before serving the Higher Croft Ward. 

Over the years, she served on many community and voluntary organisations – including Chair of the Community Health Council until its abolition. With regard to her Council role, Dorothy held key positions as Lead Member for the Education and Lifelong Learning Portfolio and Chair of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and, prior to her Mayoral appointment, was the Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport. 

Dorothy committed herself to raising funds for disabled and disadvantaged children in the Borough of Blackburn with Darwen.

Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 2007-08
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Maureen served the Roe Lee Ward since the Council became a Unitary Authority, prior to this she represented Brownhill and Revidge Wards. She held the post of opposition spokesperson on Adults Social Care and has also been a member of the Planning and Highways Committee and served on various scrutiny committees.

Having enjoyed being involved with children’s services, adoption panels and children with disabilities she joined the committee of the ‘Make a Wish’ charity for children with life threatening illness. At the time of her mayoralty, Maureen was a Governor of Roe Lee School and vice chaired the ‘Friends of Roe Lee Park’ volunteer residents group, working hard and caring for the community.

She is a people person and cared passionately for the community and people she represented. Her hobbies, when time permits, include reading, sewing and spending time with her grandchildren.

Information from Mayoral Leaflet.

Co​​uncillor Mohammed Khan O.B.E
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 2008-09

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Councillor Mohammed Khan was born and raised in Pakistan before coming to Blackburn in June 1965. He is married to Naziran and has five children and twelve Grandchildren.
He worked and studied Textiles at Blackburn College and was subsequently employed in the textile industry in the USA, where he also gained qualifications in Business Management. On returning to Blackburn he resumed work in the textile industry before opening his own general food store in 1985.

Councillor Khan has been an elected member, first of Blackburn Borough 1992-1998 and then Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council  1997 and has represented the Bank Top Ward, which is now Wensley Fold Ward. In addition to serving as Chair/Vice Chair on numerous Committees he had the position of Executive Member for Housing and Neighbourhood Services between 1999 and 2007, and was Deputy Leader of the Council from 2002 until 2007, and again in 2010 until he took over as leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council when Kate Hollern stood down in order to become the Labour MP for Blackburn in 2015, replacing Jack Straw.

Over the years, Councillor Khan has held a wide ranging number of posts in the Voluntary Sector and has been actively involved as a School Governor. He has represented the Authority on sub Regional, Regional and National Level Forums, Task Groups and Boards. In recognition of his work in Local Government, Councillor Khan was awarded an O.B.E. in the Queen's New Years Honours for 2007.

In his spare time Councillor Khan likes walking, reading and spending time with his grandchildren.

Councillor Khan was Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen between 2008 and 2009. His wife Naziran was the Mayoress.


Councillor James H. Hirst 
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 2009-10

James Hunt Hirst was born at Darwen in 1928. During the 2nd World War he served in the Royal Corps of Singles. After demobilisation he took up a career in the printing industry in Wales and Hull. On returning to Darwen he acquired his own printing company, is final job was as managing director of Wardley's Printers Ltd. He met his wife Audrey during her career as a professional musician and concert singer. They were married in 1956 at St. Andrew's, Longton.  

The couple had two children Stuart and Ian and three grandchildren. After 56 years of marriage Audrey died in July 2013.

James was elected to the Council in 1994, representing Billinge Ward, and when the Council gained unitary status he represented Beardwood and Lammack.
Before it became a Unitary Authority James was a spokesman for the Economic Development on the Borough Council, he also represented the Borough on the national Regeneration Committee of the Local Government Association.

He was a Director of the Blackburn and District Enterprise Trust and represented the Council on the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for the North West of England and the Isle of Man. He also served on the management of the Darwen Old People's Welfare Committee and was vice Chairman of the Authority's Standards Committee. James Hirst was Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen between 2009 and 2010 with 
Mrs Maureen Pickup as the Mayoress.

James Hunt Hirst died on the 27th of November 2015 at Springhill Care Home, Accrington and was interred at St. Paul's Churchyard, Hoddlesden.

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Sheila Williams​
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 2010/2011
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The Sheila  was born in Blackburn and educated at local schools.  Her Further Education was at Derby and Homerton College, Cambridge.  She taught at St. Hilda’s and Blakey Moor Boys then the High School for Girls, teaching Physical Education and Human Biology.
Town Team Girls Manager, cross-country and athletics, she was a representative on Lancashire Schools Athletic Association. Some years after the High School became Witton Park she taught Religious Education and English and also taught English as a second language.  After early retirement she taught in many local Primary schools and also with the Ethnic Minority Achievement Project.
Entering politics 16 years ago she represents Beardwood and Lammack Ward.  She has served as Conservative spokes man for Education, School Organisation, School Improvement, School Performance, School Governors and Standing Advisory Committee for Religious Education and has served on Planning and Leisure and Culture Committees.  She was previously lead member for the Children’s Services and Sustainable Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee.  Sheila was Mayoress of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in 2001/2002.
Sheila is Governor of Witton Park School.

Her interests are any kind of sport.  She played League Badminton and holds gold and bronze medal for British Indoor Championships in Veteran Athletics.  She holds various national coaching certificates and enjoys travel, speaks some French and Italian and has a real interest in Gardening, theatre and archaeology.

Married to John, they have one daughter Megan who lives and works in London.​

​​​Karimeh Foster
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 2011-12​​
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Karimeh was born in Beit Jala, next to Bethlehem in what was then Jordan in 1951. She trained as a nurse with the Jordanian Army experiencing first-hand the consequences of armed conflict. She came to England for a specialist course in Accident & Emergency Nursing in 1976. She was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the army before resigning to get married to David in 1978. She worked at Blackburn Royal Infirmary after she was married until the birth of their two children, and, on returning to nursing she worked for many years at Northwood Nursing Home. 

Karimeh was elected as a Councillor for Whitehall Ward in Darwen in 1992 and has served on many of the committees. She has a strong interest in Social Care and the development of Darwen Town Centre. She has also shown a strong interest in supporting genuine equality of opportunity for all sections of the community and promoted work on bringing the different generations together. Additionally, she also promoted an understanding of Jordan and has spoken to many local groups about her country and the situation in the Middle East. She has used her knowledge of different cultures to promote understanding between different groups in the community. She was a member of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jordan and is now a member of Spring Vale Methodist Church in Darwen. 

The Mayor’s Charity 2011/2012 The Mayor chose the following 4 charities to benefit during her mayoral year: The Multiple Sclerosis Society, The Wish Centre:The Wish Centre works with women and children who are currently experiencing domestic violence or have done so in the past, The Young Carers Project The Young Carers Project offers advice, information and support for carers aged 11-17,and, The Carer’s Centre 

​​Councillor Zamir Khan ​
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 2012-13

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Zamir was born in 1967, in Siakh, Mirpur (Azad Kashmir) near Islamabad, Pakistan and was brought to the UK  in 1968, settling in Blackburn. He attended Audley Primary School, Everton High and undertook further education at Blackburn College where he studied Sociology. He married his wife, Rahat in 1986 and they have seven children. 

Zamir is one of the founder members of the Queens Park and Audley Asian Forum. He qualified as an advisor through Citizens Advice Bureau and is also a qualified Community Interpreter (Level 2). Zamir was elected Councillor for Audley Ward, Blackburn in 2004 and he has served on various Committees e.g. Social Services, Planning and Highways, Licensing, Leisure, Finance, Education, and Audit. He works very closely with local community groups and locals schools within the Ward. He has served as a School Governor at Audley Nursery and Audley Infants and Junior School. Zamir is a Member of Audley and Queens Park Sure Start Board, a CRZ Board Member and has served on various Community Associations. 

Zamir also enjoys playing football, cricket and volley ball and has been a keen supporter of Blackburn Rovers since 1978.

Information from Mayoral Leaflet.

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​​​​Councillor Salim Mulla​
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, 2013-14

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​Salim was first elected to  Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in 1997 representing Queen's Park Ward. He is married to Sayeeda and they have five children, two boys and three girls. Cllr. Mulla was educated at St. Thomas's Junior School, Shadsworth High School and studied Business and Commerce at Blackburn College. Salim has worked at the heart of the community for the last 30 years. In the early 1970s, he helped to establish the first Muslim & Christian group, building a strong & prosperous relationship between the community. 

He was Chairman of the Sport and Leisure Committee on the Council for a number of years and, for several years, he also chaired the Regeneration and Technical committee on the Council. 

Salim has also served as an independent Advisory Member for the Lancashire Police Authority. He is also joint chair. of the Muslim and Anglican group with the Bishop of Blackburn, which he helped to establish. 
Cllr. Mulla is the current chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques. He has also been involved in the Queens Park & Audley Children’s Centre from the outset and has been chairman for about 5 years. He is a Governor of Audley Junior School and is a very active member of the community, not just in Blackburn, but throughout Lancashire.

Information from Mayoral Leaflet.

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 ​​Councillor Alan Cottam​
Mayor of Bla​ckburn with Darwen Borough Council, 2014-15. 
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Councillor Alan Cottam was brought up in Bury and came to live and work in Blackburn as Chief Engineer at the old Sun Paper Mill Feniscowles in 1969. Both his parents originated from this borough, his father from Mill Hill and his mother from Edgworth. He has since lived and worked in Blackburn with his wife Agnes and two daughters who both attended Billinge High School. In his earlier life Cllr.Cottam served in The Royal Military Police in Cyprus during the Eoka crisis, as a personal bodyguard to the Commander in Chief of the Middle East Land Forces and,it was there,that he met and married Agnes, who was also a serving soldier. They have been married 54 years, most of which has been in Blackburn. 

When he left Sun Paper Mill, it was to become Manager of the UK operation of Voith Germany. During his employment with Voith he travelled extensively arou
nd the UK and mainland Europe. After leaving Voith, he became Chief Executive of a Paper and Board Mill in Burnley, all this time whilst living in Blackburn and then Pleasington. 

In re
cent years, Cllr. Cottam has operated his own company, managing his intellectual property in the Water Industry. He has been a Conservative Councillor for Livesey with Pleasington since 1997 and since the Council became Unitary, has spent most of his time on the Council in the Regeneration and Planning disciplines, and also, scrutiny. Cllr.Cottam was Executive Member for Regeneration for the period 2008 – 2010.

Information from Mayoral Leaflet.

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Councillor Faryad Hussain​

Mayor of Blackburn w​ith Darwen Borough Council, 2015-16

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Cllr. Faryad Hussain was first elected to Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in 1999 and has represented Queens Park Ward for over 15 years. He is proud to serve as the Mayor and he would like to thank all the constituents of Queens Park ward for making this possible. 

Faryad is married to Parveen they have 2 sons and 4 daughters and are proud grandparents to 3 grandsons. He works full time at Silicone Engineering Ltd and would like to thank his manager who has allowed him to serve as Mayor. Cllr Hussain has worked at community grass roots level for over 25 years, helping local residents long before he became a Councillor. He has served on numerous committees including Education, Regeneration, Planning & Highways, Licensing and Regeneration and Technical to name a few, his most notable achievement was to serve as the Executive Member for Environmental Services for over 3 years.

Information from Mayoral Leaflet.

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​​​​Councillor Hussain Akhtar
​​Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, 2016-17
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Councillor Hussain Akhtar was first elected to the Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council  in 1997 and has represented Shear Brow Ward for over 18 years.  He has been an active member of the Labour party since 1970 and was seen as a key member of the late Barbara Castle’s team, and, more recently, that of Jack Straw. He is proud to serve as the  Mayor and would like to thank all the constituents of the Shear Brow  ward and the people of Blackburn with Darwen for making this possible. 

He is married to Tahzeem and they have five sons, one daughter and are the proud grandparents to ten grandchildren. Councillor Akhtar ran a very successful cash and carry business in the heart of  Whalley Range for over 40 years and now manages his property portfolio. 

Councillor Akhtar has worked at community grass roots level for over 30 years, helping  local residents, long before he became a Councillor. He has served on numerous committees including Education, Planning & Highways, Vice Chair of Licensing and as lead member for Leisure and Culture Services working with the then Leader of  the Council, Ms Kate Hollern. He has helped a great deal in community cohesion and building bridges with ethnic minorities.​

Mayoral Charities: East Lancashire Hospice andThe North West Air Ambulance
Information from Mayoral Leaflet

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​​​​Councillor Colin Rigby, O.B.E

​Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, 2017-18
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Colin was born in Oldham and lived in Colwyn Bay before moving to Bolton. Colin married Jean when he was twenty-ome and they have had two children.   After their marriage, they moved to Harwood and then to their home in Edgworth. Colin worked for eleven years with a Bolton Industrial Door Manufacturing Company in Southern Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Israel, Algeria and Tanzania. He then worked for a Canadian Company in the Ivory Coast (East Africa), building a sugar refinery. From there, he moved to Abu Dhabi running a company in the oilfield area for five years. He then returned home and started his own business which he ran for 30 years. 

Having been a member of the Conservative Association he was selected to stand as a candidate for a Councillor position and was duly elected in 1991. He has served on several Council Committees, and, in 2007, he became Leader of the Council, becoming the first Conservative Leader for some 50 years. Colin has recently served as Shadow Spokesperson on the Resources Portfolio dealing with the general financial state of the Borough. Locally, he is a Trust member responsible for Turton Tower, and, for 4 years was a member of the Barlow Charitable Trust and acted as treasurer during this period. Colin is looking forward to his new role as Mayor. Colin represents the North Turton with Tockholes Ward on the Borough Council. He will be the first Mayor from this Ward; a long overdue achievement. 

Colin was awarded the OBE in 2011 New Year’s Honours List.

Mayoral Charities: East Lancashire Hospice, Bolton Hospice, Eve Appeal, Royal Navy & Royal Marine's Children's Fund

Information from Mayoral Leaflet.

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 Mrs Pat McFall​​​​​
​Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, 2018-19

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Councillor Mrs Pat McFall was first elected to Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in 2002 and represents Little Harwood & Whitebirk ward where she works tirelessly with local projects. Pat was Chair. of the Children’s Centre for a long time and is non-voting member of the Community Centre Management Board.

Since being elected in 2005, Pat has been a Lead Member for Children’s Services, initially working for Schools and Education, and then for Early Years. More recently her current responsibilities involve overseeing services to Disabled Children within the Borough. She has served on numerous committees including Planning, Licensing and Education.  Pat works hard and with dedication for constituents and the portfolio which she is passionate about.
Pat is Chair. of the Strategic Domestic Abuse Group and works in partnership with other agencies to tackle domestic abuse.

Pat has four children and seven grandchildren plus four great grandchildren.

Pat believes it is an honour to serve as Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and is looking forward to the year ahead.​​

Mayoral Charities: 
Domestic violence services • Blackburn and District Without Abuse (BDDWA)  • Changing Lives. Changing Lives support women, men and children who are affected by domestic violence or domestic abuse in the Borough. • Humraaz Humraaz Support Services provides confidential specialist support to Black and Minority Ethnic women who are experiencing Domestic Abuse and all forms of Harmful Traditional Practices. 
Derian House Children’s Hospice
Cherished Gowns. Cherished Gowns UK provide the families of babies that are stillborn, miscarried or pass away shortly after birth, with items of clothing that they are able to be dressed in for their funeral. ​

​​Information from Mayoral Leaflet.

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Councillor Jim Shorrock​​​
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, 2019-20
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On leaving school, Jim worked at G.E.C. Engineering in Clayton-le-Moors, before joining the R.A.F. in 1979. He served six years as a Steward working in Officers and Senior N.C.O’s Messes, and on V.I.P. and Royal Functions.

Having been brought up in the Licensed Trade from a young age, Jim then pursued a career running several Public Houses in the borough, including The Horseshoe in Darwen, The Globe Inn and The Courts Hotel.  Jim served as Treasurer and Chair. of Daniel Thwaites Tenants Association in the mid 1990’s, and, as a Member of Blackburn Licensed Victuallers and as North-West Parliamentary Representative for the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations.

In 2001, Jim then took up a new career with ISS Facility Services Ltd, serving in several job roles, including, most recently, as a Training Manager.

In 2004, Jim was elected to the Council, representing Shadsworth with Whitebirk Ward, and, more recently, Blackburn Southeast, for the Labour Party, holding several positions including Chair. of Policy and Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee for most of that time.  He also serves as a School Governor for both Shadsworth Infants and Junior Schools.

In 2012, Jim achieved the title of Fellow of the British Institute of Innkeeping, recognising his many years in the Licensed Trade.

Jim is looking forward to his Mayoral year, ably accompanied by his Consort Mark and Mayoress Linda.
​THOMAS, Derian House, Every Action Has Consequences, Youth Action 

Information from Mayoral Leaflet.

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​​​Councillor Iftakhar Hussain​​
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, 2020-21
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Councillor Iftakhar Hussain was first elected to serve for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in 2004.  He has represented the Bastwell and Daisyfield ward for over 15 years and has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of his constituents.

He has served on many committees incluing: Licensing where his position was as Chair., Planning Committee, Scrutiny Committee and under the Culture and Leisure Department, when he was elected Lead Member for that service. He is proud to serve as the Mayor and would like to show his gratitude to all the constituents who made this possible.

Councillor Hussain moved to Blackburn at the young age of nine, he went on to study at Pleckgate High School and then Blackburn College. He has been married to Sabiran for over 30 years; they have three sons, two daughters and are proud grandparents to three grandchildren.

Councillor Hussain was successful within the catering industry in his younger years and has also worked at the Citizen's Advice Bureau which allowed him to help many residents across the Borough over the years. he has worked diligently with many organisations and community groups, and especially enjoyed his time as Vice Chair of the Mela Committee during the Millenium Celebrations.  He has strong moral and regularly finds time to get involved in various charity functions and proactively helps raise funds for those in need.

Councillor Hussain is very keen on keeping up with sports, especially cricket and football.  In his free time, he enjoys expanding his knowledge through reading history books.

He is very humbled to achieve the role of Mayor and is looking forward to making the most of the opportunity and enjoying the year ahead.

Information from Mayoral Leaflet.

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Councillor Derek Hardman​
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, 2021-22
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Councillor Derek Hardman was born in Sefton Park Hospital in Liverpool; he moved to Blackburn at an early age.  His father worked at Foster, Yates and Thom, engineers and boilermakers, Blackburn. The family moved to Little Harwood where Derek lived for over twenty years. He attended St. Stephen's Church of Eengland Primary School and then St. Wilfred's High School. At school, Derek enjoyed sport and, as an adult, he took up refereeing in the Blackburn Combination League and was promoted to the Cheshire League and The North West Counties.  Derek refereed the Orphanage Cup Final at Ewood Park between Mullards and R.O.F.

Following school, Derek received an engineering apprenticeship at Mullards, Blackburn.  He left there in 1983 and bought a newsagent in Pleckgate. He later got a job at the Swan Power Transmission at Preston.  For the last twenty years, Derek has worked for Brammer on site at B.A.E. Systems, Samlesbury.

Outside work, Derek is involved in the Scouting movement.  He became a leader at Immanuel, Feniscowles and then moved on to St. Gabriel's and Salisbury Scouts.  Derek was awarded his wood badge in scouting; the top honour for leaders.  

Derek enjoys spending time with his family and going on family holidays to the Llyn Peninsula, North Wales where they enjoy relaxing on the beach, walking, visiting castles and railways and, most importantly, spending time together.

East Lancashire Scouts, Derian House, East Lancashire Hospice and Girlguiding Lancashire East are the charities who will benefit from fund raising activities during Derek's year in office.

Information from Mayoral Leaflet.

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Councillor Suleman Khonat​​
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, 2022-23

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Councillor Suleman Khonat noted during his Mayoral acceptance speech that:
"I am honoured, humbled and proud to serve as the Mayor for Blackburn with Darwen, and am looking forward to a positive and successful year ahead.
I want to help people. There isn’t a family in Blackburn with Darwen who can say they weren’t affected by the past two years. Health, education or employment, everyone has been dealing with something.
It’s going to be a challenge. After two years, things are opening up now. I know I’m going to be busy.
Blackburn with Darwen has so much to offer. I want to highlight help for the homeless in the borough. I want to be a champion for mental health, to get people to the services that can help them, show them how they can help each other.
I’m also passionate about education. I want to find a way to bring first aid education to school children to help bring more health resilience to our communities."

He added:
"I speak many languages, so I will be connecting with all communities to engage them and encourage them to get involved and make a positive difference in BwD."

Councillor Khonat is planning to use his Mayoral year meeting people across our diverse communities and encouraging everyone to help make the Borough a better place.

Councillor Khonat was born and raised in Malawi, Africa. He has lived and worked in Blackburn with Darwen since 1976. ​ Councillor Khonat was first elected in 2004, as the Labour councillor for the Shear Brow Ward (now known as the Shear Brow and Corporation Park Ward). He has been a committed community servant for over 18 years.

During his councillor career, Coun Khonat has served on several committees including as Vice Chair. for the Planning and Highways Committee, as Chair. of the Scrutiny Committee, and on the Licencing Committee.

Since 2001, Khonat has served as a local Magistrate and feels particularly proud to be able to provide this service to the community.

Councillor Suleman Khonat is a passionate volunteer for East Lancashire Hospice, a cause close to his heart. Along with raising awareness of the services throughout East Lancashire, he has highlighted how the hospice can individually support families and the entire community and helped to raise funds in excess of £250,000 for this worthy cause.

Councillor Khonat is also a volunteer with Blackburn Muslim Burial Society which offers a vital support service to local bereaved families.
In 2018,  Khonat was shortlisted for a B.B.C. Community Hero Award for his fundraising.

Education for BwD communities is important to Coun Khonat, who has volunteered as a governor of Blackburn’s Tauheedul Islamic Girls’ High School since its start up.

Councillor Khonat has lived and worked in Blackburn for over 40 years. He worked as a weaver at Witton Mill within Blackburn’s textile industry. He later worked as a bus conductor and had a few other jobs, before becoming a successful newsagent owner. He later became national President for the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, an organisation supporting independent retailers.

A widower and a proud father of five children and ten grandchildren, Councillor Khonat loves spending time with all of them, especially after the events of the last two years. And his family are keen to support him in this important community role – the BwD Mayoress and Consort titles this year will be shared between his children: Sumayya Mayat, Hajra Sath, Reyhana Khonat, Ridwan Khonat (Consort), Hameema Khan and Sumaiya Khonat, who between them have plenty of professional expertise to share with local organisations and Mayoral charities.

Councillor Khonat has selected three main charities to support during his year in office: East Lancashire Hospice, Nightsafe and Anaphylaxis Awareness.

Nevertheless, the Mayor, Mayoresses and Consort would also like to support other local charities throughout their Mayoral year by helping raise awareness for them and helping as many as possible during his year in office. 

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Councillor ​Parwaiz Akhtar

Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, 2023 - 2024​
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Councillor Parwaiz Akhtar, who has been a Labour councillor representing the Bastwell & Daisyfield ward since 2004, was made the borough’s first citizen at the annual Mayor Making ceremony in Blackburn Town Hall on Thursday 18 May 2023.  

Councillor Akhtar was born in Jhelum, Pakistan in 1960. At the age of 10, his family moved to Great Harwood, and a couple of years later settled in Blackburn, where he has lived ever since. 

He is a former pupil of Pleckgate High School. He left school in the summer of 1977 and went straight into the world of work – his first job was as an Apprentice Textile Weaver at Higham’s Ltd, in Great Harwood. After four years, he took on a machine operator role at Precision Polymer Engineering in Blackburn. 

Having always enjoyed working with people, Councillor Akhtar moved into community work around 1990. His first public sector role was working with young people as a Community Development Officer for the Ethnic Minority Development Association, and around the same time he volunteered at Bangor Street Youth & Community Centre. 

Alongside work, Councillor Akhtar studied part-time at Blackburn College to boost his qualifications, and became a Basic Skills Tutor at Training 2000 in 1995. As well as supporting people with English and Maths, he helped them get into training, further education and employment. 

In 2012, Councillor Akhtar started work for the NHS at Royal Blackburn Hospital. Over the next decade he had various roles including ward clerk and support worker, and currently works as a Healthcare Assistant within Critical Care. 

Over the last 19 years as a ward councillor, Councillor Akhtar has served on many committees within the Council: lead member for the Environment Services, Adult Social Care Services, Chair of the Licensing Committee, and Chair of the Standards Committee. He also serves as a governor at Cedars Primary School in Blackburn.
Councillor Akhtar will be supported in his Mayoral role by two Mayoresses, his wife of 29 years Shagufta and his daughter Sabbah, and also two Consorts, his sons Umar and Tauseef.

Together they have chosen three charities to support during their Mayoral year: East Lancashire Hospice, Nightsafe and East Lancashire Hospital charity ELHT&Me.

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Councillor Brian Taylor​

Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, 2023 - 2024​
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Councillor Brian Taylor has been a Labour Councillor representing, first Sunnyhurst Ward, and then, after boundary changes, Darwen West since 2010. He was made the borough’s first citizen at the annual
Mayor Making ceremony in Blackburn Town Hall on Thursday 16th of May 2024.

Cllr. Taylor was born in Darwen in 1949 and has lived in Darwen ever since. He was a former pupil of Spring Bank school, leaving in 1964. Cllr. Taylor then spent 33 years in the wallcoverings industry, mostly at Paragon Wallcoverings and Crown Wallcoverings, before ending his career in employment at TV Licensing at the age of 72.

Over the last 14 years as a Ward Councillor, he has served as Assistant Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, and Chair of The Place Scrutiny Committee.
Cllr. Taylor will be supported in his Mayoral role by his three daughters as joint Mayoresses Nicola, Emma and Louise.