TRIBUTES have been paid to a musician, retired special constable and grandfather-of-nine who died after a 13-year battle with a rare lung-scarring condition.

Ken Bower, 70, of Church Bank in Church, passed away on Friday, January 3, after sharing a ‘very happy life’ with wife Julie, 71, and their sons, Martin, 50, and Stewart, 48.

Mr Bower rose to the rank of Section Officer with Rossendale Police during his 11 years of service, and played drums for Haslingden and Helmshore Brass Band for 10 years.

Born in Ramsbottom, he started his working life as a garage mechanic before touring the UK with theatre productions as a drummer in the 1960s. He met Julie in Lowestoft, Suffolk, where they were married.

Mrs Bower, a retired shop assistant, said: “Ken was a private and unassuming man. He was very direct. He was a lovely man.

“Touring introduced him to the bright lights of showbusiness.

“The group did private shows for stars including Harry Secombe, and played charity football matches with Des O’Connor, Marty Wilde, and Joe Brown.”

The couple moved back to Ramsbottom, and Mr Bower took on shop work, and bus and coach driving, as theatres started to close.

Mrs Bower said: “He loved driving. Another great passion was his police work. In 1988 he became a traffic warden in Rawtenstall, before going into civilian police work in Burnley in 2003.

“He was a drummer in Haslingden and Helmshore Brass Band from 1988 to 1998, when he was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, and joined the Camping and Caravanning Club Band. They met six or seven times a year, and he loved caravanning.”

In the last 12 months, Mr Bower struggled with breathing, and was cared for by Mrs Bower.

David Holland, conductor of Haslingden and Helmshore Brass Band, said: “I’ve known Ken for about 25 years. He was at the band when I joined and we knew each other through our love of music. He was a very reliable man, good to have around.”

Mr Bower’s funeral will be held at Accrington Crematorium at 1pm on Tuesday. Family flowers only. Donations to SILA, the sarcoidosis charity, c/o Fred Hamers Funeral Services.